Wednesday, December 21, 2005

FISA Court Judge Resigns in Response to Bush Spy Story

One of the 11 federal judges who sit on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has quit the job today, in protest against Pres. Bush's granting authority to the NSA to spy on U.S. citizens without getting a court order. Although the judge, James Robertson, did not give a reason for his decision in the letter of resignation he submitted to SCOTUS Chief Justice John Roberts, Robertson told two colleagues about his concerns in private conversations. Apparently, he was especially worried that the government could use information they gained from these warrantless searches to get warrants from FISA for other searches.

... FISA court Presiding Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who had been briefed on the spying program by the administration, raised the same concern in 2004, and insisted that the Justice Department certify in writing that it was not occurring.

"They just don't know if the product of wiretaps were used for FISA warrants -- to kind of cleanse the information," said one source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the classified nature of the FISA warrants. "What I've heard some of the judges say is they feel they've participated in a Potemkin court."

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