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 @TyreJim I thought it was legal so long as you have a half order of fries on the table? @dmataconis
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emptywheel @MeritNotParty Anyway. Heading to bed. It's been absolutely hysterical chatting. Thanks.
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emptywheel @MeritNotParty Tho I agree, you defended Eli--good and bad--far more aggressively.
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emptywheel @MeritNotParty Starting where you said the Giants (or, oddly, the iggles) didn't qualify, but the Jehries (or whatev) did?
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emptywheel @MeritNotParty Since you missed that entire point the conversation descended into you performing my point perfectly. To a T. Thanks!
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emptywheel @MeritNotParty Every single time an NFC fan raise off-point comments to fluff their team? Proved the point. Not a gender issue. Abt surface
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emptywheel @MeritNotParty Yes. ENTIRE CONVERSATION was premised on similarities in irrationality and cattiness bt NFC East fans and Real Housewives
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emptywheel @MeritNotParty So no. You can't find a link? Thought so. Bravo fodder. Like I said.
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emptywheel @MeritNotParty Still waiting for your link where I call you a "girl." Until then you're just Bravo fodder.
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emptywheel @MeritNotParty No. No. You have missed the point entirely. But apparently have real gender insecurities.
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emptywheel @MeritNotParty Go ahead link it.
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