During his interview with Charlie Rose this week about surveillance programs, President Obama made a statement that, well, is somewhat mind-boggling:
Charlie Rose: Should this be transparent in some way?
Barack Obama: It is transparent. That’s why we set up the FISA court….
The response on Twitter was predictable: there is nothing transparent about FISC. It is the opposite of transparency when it comes to informing the public as to what is going on. Read Trevor Timm’s response on EFF, who are also urging members of the public to call Congress to oppose the domestic spying.
In related news, top-ranking officials testified in Congress that the surveillance programs leaked by Edward Snowden had disrupted more than 50 terrorist plots worldwide. Spencer Ackerman reports:
James Cole, the deputy attorney general, said that the NSA needs “reasonable, articulable suspicion” of involvement in terrorism before searching the millions of Americans’ phone records that it collects. But, Cole said: “We do not have to get separate court approval for each query.”
Instead, the NSA sends an “aggregate number” of times it has searched the database every 30 days to the secret Fisa court that oversees surveillance, while also sending a separate report each time NSA analysts inappropriately search the database. Alexander’s deputy, Chris Ingliss, said NSA analysts searched the database 300 times in 2012 in total.
Read more on The Guardian.