Why Should We Believe Solicitors General about Warrantless Wiretapping

I’m working on a longer post about the arguments in Amnesty v. Clapper today.

But I wanted to point to this passage from the transcript, in which Solicitor General Don Verrilli responded to Justice Ginsburg’s suggestion that the FISA Court didn’t exercise very rigorous oversight, given that it had only ever rejected one application.

JUSTICE GINSBURG: Is there much of a speculation involved in how — I think it’s only one time, and it was under the pre-amended statute, that the FISA court ever turned down an application

GENERAL VERRILLI: Yes, but that, Your Honor, is, I think, not a fair assessment of the process. It’s really very much an iterative process in which there’s a dialogue between the executive branch and the FISA court in which the court can demand more information, raise objections. Those get worked out, and then there’s a final order.

So I don’t think it’s fair to infer from the fact that there’s only one rejection that this — that it’s a process that isn’t rigorous.

But there was evidence in the court room today to show how false such assurances are.

You see, Ted Olson was in the room. He was there to argue a copyright case heard just after Amensty v. Clapper. And as I have noted before, the government actually sent Olson–back when he was Solicitor General–to argue before the FISA Court of Review without disclosing the warrantless wiretapping program to him. He made a number of claims about how “lawful” the government’s activities were when, in fact, they weren’t.

Given that the government has lied to FISCR before, and given that Solicitors General apparently don’t get briefed on what the government does with warrantless wiretapping, is there any reason we should believe this Solicitor General about the FISA Court’s oversight?

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8 Responses to Why Should We Believe Solicitors General about Warrantless Wiretapping

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel At least Kristol has matured since Palin, bc he no longer likes parroted lines.
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emptywheel Both Kasich and Jeb! were so gleeful that Trump just kicked the shit out of Cruz.
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emptywheel @mcorcoran3 No no no. Easy answer is "Rooting for Carolina bc Denver beat my buddy Tommy." CARLY could pander that astutely.
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emptywheel For those of you who keep asking ... no, all these "pro life" men did not get a single question on Flint.
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emptywheel Let it be noted that Trump did not pander with an obvious Tom Brady answer.
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emptywheel For fuck sake we're asking Super Bowl?
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emptywheel @onekade It's not over.
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emptywheel @JackiSchechner And he lost his teeth.@GottaLaff
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