The United States Secret Court

Although the law should be the same for everyone, and should apply indiscriminately, we are often confronted to the fact that it is not quite so, and in the USA even more. Indeed, since the passing of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978, the USA has a “secret” federal court, called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). The court’s mission is to issue surveillance warrants, on request of the NSA and other security agencies in the USA. Everything that comes before that court is classified, including the hearings, and nothing is made available to the public, which is unaware of what goes on. Of the 14 judges that preside that Court, 12 of them are Republican. This court is really problematic, since it seems that there are different rules than in front of a normal court. From 1979 to 2012, more than 33 000 warrants have been requested by the several agencies. Apparently, only 11 of them have been denied by the FISC. Recently, this court has been under fire,  since the NSA asked it to issue a warrant ( to have access to all the telephonic data collected by Verizon, within and outside the USA, for counterterrorism purposes. Despite these type of justifications, as Al Gore said “It is not acceptable to have a secret interpretation of a law that goes far beyond any reasonable reading of either the law or the Constitution, and then classify as top secret what the actual law is…”. Read more about it here.


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