1. Any ballpark estimate -- any number at all, really -- of how many Americans had their communications intercepted by the NSA through the President’s
1. Any ballpark estimate — any number at all, really — of how many Americans had their communications intercepted by the NSA through the “President’s Surveillance Program.” The fact that this is missing from an inspectors general report is a glaring oversight.
The error rate in collecting terrorism communications. According to the inspectors general of the CIA, FBI and NSA, much if not most of the information collected by the program was unrelated to terrorism. The NSA inspector general found “no evidence of intentional misuse” of the surveillance efforts. Which is groovy. But it still doesn’t tell us how much irrelevant data the program collected, which is a crucial question when determining its efficacy.
How much so-called Fruit of the Poisoned Tree resulted. That’s a legal doctrine referring to evidence that has to be thrown out of court. Long story short: if an investigation or a technique to get information is inadmissible in court, no evidence yielded by such methods can be used either. Warrantless surveillance is most certainly a case that would generate inadmissible evidence. That’s one of the issues at stake in yesterday’s al-Haramain filing that I wrote about. And it’s huge. If information from warrantless surveillance made its way into indictments or prosecutions, then those cases are jeopardized. That’s the sort of thing that lets terrorists out on the streets.
Check this out, for instance: the Justice Department “was aware as early as 2002 that information collected under the PSP could have implications for DOJ’s litigation responsibilities under Rule of Criminal Procedure Rule 16 and Brady v. Maryland.” Rule 16 and Brady prevent prosecutors from withholding germane information from a defendant — like, you know, whether part or all of an investigation is based on an illegal search. But what happened? “[N]o DOJ attorneys with terrorism prosecution responsibilities were read into the PSP until mid-2004, and as a result DOJ continued to lack the advice of attorneys who were best equipped to identify and examine the discovery issues in connection with the PSP.” That means that from 2001 to 2004, U.S. attorneys could have been given — from FBI or intelligence officials — information relevant to a terrorism prosecution that they would have no way of knowing came from a poisoned tree like the PSP, and could therefore never have disclosed that fact to defense counsel. And yet the report doesn’t tell us how often that happened.
Relatedly, this is dense but important:
Chapters Three and Six of the DOJ IG [inspector general] report describe how DOJ and the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court] addressed the impact PSP-derived information had on the FISA process. The DOJ IG concluded that it was foreseeable that [PSP-derived] information might impact the process and that the initial delay in reading anyone from DOJ’s Office of Intelligence Policy and Review (OIPR) or the [FISA Court] into the PSP unnecessarily jeopardized DOJ’s relationship with the Court.
That’s hard to follow, but what it appears to mean is that OIPR, the office responsible for generating FISA warrants, had no idea if information it submitted as probable cause to the FISA Court for such a warrant came from PSP surveillance. OIPR whistleblower Thomas Tamm realized in 2004 that there were special procedures for *some *warrant submissions that seemed to come from a certain subset of NSA information; he had no idea what PSP was. We still don’t know how many warrants for the FISA Court effectively laundered dirty information into the criminal-justice process.
Update: Sorry, just two more.
Any assessment, at all, of the legality of the warrantless surveillance programs collectively called PSP. Just a total dodge on this one.
Relatedly: the words “exclusive means.” Like for instance, the inspectors general write: “Prior to September 11, 2001, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 and Executive Order 1233 were generally viewed as the principal governing authorities for conducting electronic surveillance for national security purposes.” Well, not exactly. What FISA actually says is this:
Rep. Paul Ryan to deliver SOTU response
Chairman of the House Budget Committee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will deliver the Republican response to the State of the Union Tuesday, according to Mike Allen
Rep. Paulsen allies with medical device industry to relax FDA oversight
Source: Flickr; Republicanconference (www.flickr.com/photos/republicanconference) On the heels of the Minnesota Independent story last week about U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen’s cozy financial relationship with the medical device industry, the New York Times reported Tuesday that some health professionals are alarmed by Paulsen’s push to relax Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversight
Rep. Paulsen touts balanced budget constitutional amendment
In a post for the conservative blog True North , U.S. Rep
Rep. Patrick McHenry: Please, Conservatives, Fill Out Your Census Forms!
The conservative congressman from North Carolina, a constant critic of the census -- one of the people who sounded the alarm about politicization when the
Rep. Paulsen, Karl Rove the latest to get ‘glittered’
Rep. Erik Paulsen and former Bush staffer Karl Rove were both showered with glitter at the Midwest Leadership Conference Friday
Rep. Perlmutter to hold constituent meet-up in grocery store
Colorado Congressman Ed Perlmutter will hold a Government in the Grocery constituent meet-up this evening from 5-7 at the Safeway at 38th and Wadsworth in Wheat Ridge. The address is 3900 Wadsworth. The meeting, where Perlmutter typically sits at a folding table and talks to whomever shows up, is free and open to the public
Rep. Perlmutter criticizes House measure that would eliminate 800K federal jobs
Congressman Ed Perlmutter today issued a scathing statement criticizing the House of Representatives for passing a spending bill that could put nearly a million federal employees out of work. The Colorado delegation voted strictly on party lines, with all four Republicans voting in favor of the bill and the three Democrats voting in opposition. Perlmutter’s statement: “My number one priority is to get people back to work because that’s the best thing we can do to pay our debt and move forward toward economic stability
Rep. Pete Stark Won’t Dignify Constituent by, er, Micturating Upon His Leg
In the tradition of Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), California Democratic Rep. Pete Stark revealed at a recent town hall gathering that there are limits to what
Rep. Peace, ACLU seek investigation of soldier’s allegations of racial discrimination in Afghanistan
Both Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) and the American Civil Liberties Union agree: There needs to be an investigation into Spc.
School of Hock
A growing number of college grads are defaulting on their student loans as the economy worsens.