Courts to Protect Americans Against NSA Surveillance Criticized as ‘Fraud’

© Flickr / EFF PhotosThe NSA has no intention of deleting the its massive database.
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The two-court system supposed to oversee and restrain the surveillance powers of the US government caved in this week on its first ruling since the US Freedom Act was passed last year, specialists on surveillance issues told Sputnik.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — "The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Appeals are a joke and a fraud — both of them," University of Illinois Professor of International Law Francis Boyle stated on Thursday.

Boyle was speaking two days after the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) approved on Tuesday a request by the National Security Agency (NSA) to carry out unspecified surveillance activities.

The FISC ruling was its first since the passage of the USA Freedom Act, but most of the court order was redacted, did not reveal the identities of any telecom providers the NSA is working with nor whom the agency is targeting, according to published reports.

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Boyle told Sputnik this pattern of almost unrestricted permissiveness for the NSA would not shock or surprise Congress since the courts had been set up to give the US security agencies a free hand.

"They were set up by Congress as kangaroo courts to give a stamp of approval on whatever unconstitutional activities the NSA may choose to do against the American people," Boyle explained.

Boyle pointed out that the FISC and its Court of Appeals swept aside constitutional safeguards that had been in place for almost 230 years to protect the civil rights of Americans.

He noted that the courts violate the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States to protect the American people against unconstitutional searches.

"I do not see how any US federal judge can in good conscience serve in good faith on either of those courts and gut and eviscerate the US Constitution," Boyle said.

US judges who had taken their oath to uphold the US Constitution, Boyle argued, deserved to face legal proceedings for the very act of agreeing to sit on either of the surveillance oversight courts.

"I believe judges who serve on those two courts should be impeached for subverting and gutting the Constitution of the United States," he opined.

US historian and author James Bovard who specializes in studies of government abuse of power and corruption was equally critical about the FISC and its Appeals Court.

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"The latest ruling from the FISC maintains its almost unbroken record of bureaucratic boot licking. The court's purported oversight of federal surveillance continues to be a sham," Bovard observed.

However, although the courts failed to protect the civil liberties of US citizens in any significant way, the fact of their existence remained politically useful to the Obama administration, Bovard maintained.

The FISC "is 'close enough for government work' to allow Obama and congressmen to pretend the government is not ravishing our privacy," he added.

The FISC is a US federal court set up under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to oversee requests for surveillance warrants against suspected foreign spies inside the United States by federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

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