While everyone was talking about what Michael Wolff might have heard in Trump’s White House, the vote to continue a controversial surveillance program that has been backed by the White House since Nixon is underway. It passed the House this week and will now go to the Senate.
Judge Andrew Napolitano thinks that the continuation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) is dangerous for American citizen’s civil liberties and will destroy our constitution’s fourth amendment which guarantees privacy in our persons, houses, papers, and effects.
FISA came about after the Watergate era in which the Nixon administration used the FBI and CIA unlawfully to spy without warrants on the president’s real and imagined domestic political opponents. FISA prohibits all domestic surveillance except that which is pursuant to warrants signed by federal judges.
Judge’s may only issue these warrants when they have probable cause to believe that the surveillance will produce evidence of criminal behavior. The Fourth Amendment further requires that the judicial warrant describe specifically the place to be searched or the person or thing to be seized, explains Judge Napolitano.
All of these requirements have been put in place, so as to prevent any court from issuing general warrants, which is what FISA allows to happen.
“‘FISA did not interfere with the standard understanding or use of the Fourth Amendment by the government and the courts. But it did add another way for the government to invade privacy when its wish is to surveil people for national security purposes — a return to general warrants — as opposed to solely gathering evidence of crimes,’ reports Judge Napolitano.”
The FISA allows for no distinctions to be made between the government trying to gather evidence and the government intelligence gathering, which permits a secret court in Washington to issue general warrants based on the government’s need to gather intelligence about national security.
Since 1977, the FISA court has issued well over 99 percent of the warrants the government has requested and none of these warrants specify the place or person that needs to be searched.
“‘A typical FISC-issued warrant authorizes government surveillance on all landlines, mobile devices and desktop computers in a given area or ZIP code. One infamous FISC-issued search warrant permitted the feds to surveil all Verizon customers in the U.S. — in excess of 115 million people — without any evidence of crime or even suspicion about any of them,’ says Judge Napolitano.”
Judge Napolitano claims that today the federal government’s computers are permanently connected to the mainframes of all telecoms and computer service providers in America, so the spying is in real time.
The Judge also says that the government employs more than 600,000 domestic spies– on spy for every 5,500 Americans.
An addition to FISA would also be that is would permit the use of evidence of crimes in federal court even when it is discovered during mass surveillance authorized by general warrants.
What is most surprising about this whole scenario is that President Trump would want to support this act because it was this kind of surveillance activity that he has been subject to when the government surveillance his home after reports about collusion with the Russian government came out.
“Whatever happened to the public promise to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution as it is written? That’s in the oath all in government have taken. That is the oath that the president and his Republican allies reject,” says Napolitano.
Source: Fox News