More Lies to the FISA Court

I was pulling up something else from Ron Wyden’s site, and noticed a sentence in this release pointing out how last week’s so-called transparency dump from James Clapper actually shows the lies the Intelligence Community told to Congress. I didn’t see the first time I looked at it.

Similarly misleading statements about the bulk email records program were also made to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, though these statements unfortunately remain classified.

As I’ve noted before, John Brennan testified that he submitted CIA interrogation derived evidence to the FISA Court, almost certainly in the “scary memos” he submitted to justify the continuation of Cheney’s illegal wiretap program.

Burr: I’m still not clear on whether you think the information from CIA interrogations saved lives.  Have you ever made a representation to a court, including the FISA court, about the type and importance of information learned from detainees including detainees in the CIA detention and interrogation program?

Brennan: Ahm, first of all, in the first part of your question, as to you’re not sure whether I believe that there has been information … I don’t know myself.

Burr: I said I wasn’t clear whether I understood, whether whether I was clear.

Brennan: And I’m not clear at this time either because I read a report that calls into question a lot of the information that I was provided earlier on, my impressions. Um. There, when I was in the government as the head of the national counterterrorism center I know that I had signed out a number of um affirmations related to the uh continuation of certain programs uh based on the analysis and intelligence that was available to analysts. I don’t know exactly what it was at the time, but we can take a look at that.

Burr: But the committee can assume that you had faith if you made that claim to a court or including the FISA court, you had faith in the documents in the information that was supplied to you to make that declaration.

Brennan: Absolutely. At the time if I had made any such affirmation, i would have had faith that the information I was provided was an accurate representation. [my emphasis]

While Wyden’s hinted misrepresentations are probably more modest — probably relating to how important the information derived from the Internet metadata collection really was — it nevertheless adds to the evidence that the non-adversarial nature of the FISA Court has allowed the Executive Branch to lie to the judges who preside there.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

6 replies
  1. greengiant says:

    The mainstream media is recently making more noises about the Oct 3 2011 86 page FISC ruling that found some activities unconstitutional and which the EFF had requested a FOIA release thereof.

    emptywheel referred to this ruling in June.

    Guest this is media dust and mirrors that if FISA finds one thing unconstitutional every 10 years then the process must be functional.

    They call it FISC, others call it FISA.

    EFF motion 21 May 2013 which got FISC to say it was not DOJ’s shield.

  2. JThomason says:

    Found this in a post on FB reflecting on the turn of government since 9/11. Seems particularly apropos:

    “From the shameful ways that our government uses its power to persecute and ruin those who reveal its secret and worrisome truths — our brave whistleblowers — it’s obvious that our government doesn’t trust us to support it if all of its facts and practices are made known to us.”

  3. peasantparty says:

    Whether the whether of the weather.

    Can I just say that I am a little happy that elites such as the Koch Bros that can afford those fancy automated toilets can now know their ASSES are being WATCHED! Literally!

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    At a minimum, FISA court proceedings should include a guardian ad litem for the public’s interest. Precedents in other contexts in Europe abound.

    A select group of cleared lawyers would have the same access to the government’s case as the FISA court. They would be charged with making counterarguments to the government’s position, pointing out gaps in its logic, evidence and reading of the law. The Anglo-American adversarial legal system simply doesn’t work without someone besides the court taking such a role.

  5. What Constitution? says:

    @earlofhuntingdon: You’re right, because lord knows all these government lawyers and government officials and FISC judges and DiFi congressional “overseers” can’t be expected to remember there’s a Fourth Amendment or that it’s part of the Constitution they are sworn to protect and defend (there being, after all, bahd people out there who wish us ill).

Comments are closed.