The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) via a letter to Senator Ron Wyden (R-OR) has confirmed Wyden’s statement that The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) has, at least on one occasion, collected information through warrantless wiretaps that violate the Fourth Amendment. While agreeing with Wyden, the DNI issued this statement:
The government has remedied these concerns and the FISC has continued to approve the collection as consistent with the statute and reasonable under the Fourth Amendment. Source.
FISC is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a court which renders decisions with no transparency to the public and generally not to our elected officials.
…step back here to understand how we know this and why that process is deeply troubling. Apparently, the secret FISA court—at some point—ruled that the government was violating the Constitution. When? We have no idea. How many Americans were affected? We don’t know that either. Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation
In other words, DNI violated the Constitution but how they did it and why is classified.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. ~ Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
Before moving on to the demise of the Fourth Amendment, the Director of National Intelligence is the infamous James Clapper, who declared publicly that the Muslim Brotherhood is “largely a secular” organization.
The head of the U.S. government’s vast spying apparatus has conceded that recent surveillance efforts on at least one occasion violated the Constitutional prohibitions on unlawful search and seizure.
The admission comes in a letter from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declassifying statements that a top U.S. Senator wished to make public in order to call attention to the government’s 2008 expansion of its key surveillance law.
“On at least one occasion,” the intelligence shop has approved Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) to say, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court found that “minimization procedures” used by the government while it was collecting intelligence were “unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment.” Minimization refers to how long the government may retain the surveillance data it collects. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution is supposed to guarantee our rights against unreasonable searches.
Wyden does not specify how extensive this “unreasonable” surveillance was; when it occurred; or how many Americans were affected by it.
GluagBound points to yet another loophole (read it here) that is being used to circumvent traditional warrant protections.
But Wyden’s amendment that would have required a warrant to search the communications of a specific American was voted down 13-2 after Intelligence committee chairman Dianne Feinstein insisted there was no such loophole.
America, for all the lack of media coverage, for all the complacency about the lack of privacy guaranteed by the Constitution, for all the lies that have come out of Congress and the White House since September 11, 2001, understand that the Director of National Intelligence has admitted to collecting information that it should not have collected under the Fourth Amendment, which they continually tell us is respected.
And while Wyden’s committee was attempting to get the DNI to admit what they were doing, Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, let Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, stonewall on Mohamed Elibiary, a member of her DHS advisory committee who is alleged by Texas authorities of using his home computer to download confidential information, using his high-level DHS security clearance. FISA, FISC, Clapper, Napolitano, Elibiary, and all the numbers of Muslims in Homeland Security – not small matters.