Is It Hard to Put a Rubber Stamp on an Email?


rubber stamper? I hardly know her!

The court in charge of keeping an eye on the FBI's electronic surveillance requests hasn't been particularly picky lately

The secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court approved all 1,506 government requests to electronically monitor suspected "agents" of a foreign power or terrorists on US soil last year, according to a Justice Department report released via the Freedom of Information Act….

"The FISC did not deny any applications in whole, or in part," according to the April 19 report to Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, (D-NV.)

The 11-member court denied two of 1,329 applications for domestic-intelligence surveillance in 2009. The FBI is the primary agency making those requests.

As the Wired article linked above notes, it may just be that the FBI has gotten very, very good as sussing out what the courts is going to go for. But privacy advocates have picked up the scent of rubber in the air.

For some fun Monday reading, check out all 32 publicly-available FISA court reports. Or take a dip in the Reason archives and enjoy Contributing Editor Julian Sanchez on FISA frenzy.

Via tipster queen Courtney Knapp.

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22 responses to “Is It Hard to Put a Rubber Stamp on an Email?

  1. Why would the FBI be interested in an innocent person? They never do that.

    (cough Richard Jewell cough)

    1. He was more than innocent. He took actions that saved lives. It’s kind of like accusing Jim Phelps after a successful M:I mission.

      1. Those missions would have all been abject failures if not for Barney – our society, always demeaning the Barneys.

  2. Mayhaps the FBI isn’t applying to FISC with frivolity. Glass half full.

    1. i might steal that word

  3. 1506 government requests per year works out to about 6 per business day, on average.

    Just sayin’.

    1. That was my response also. It doesn’t sound like a large number, but I have no context to put that in. I wonder what the approval rate for search warrants is at the FBI in general.

    2. That wouldn’t seem so bad if it were robbery or murder, but these are terrorists we’re talking about. If there were actually 1506 new terrorists (or foreign agents), we’d have had bombs going off by now.

      Sorry, but this seems to me like they are on a fishing expedition and FISC is cutting the bait.

      1. “foreign agents” are often lawyers

    3. Out of a population of 310 million. I’m not quivering in my boots.

      Sloopyinca, of course they’re not all terrorists. That’s the way it works: when you are looking for instances of X, you have to look at more things than there are instances of X.

      1. But 300-500 new terrorists that have some potential of threatening the US per year seems okay?

        1. Well, no, it’s not OK, which is why I’m not upset about the 1,506 surveillance requests.

  4. lol, I have that rubber WTF? stamp and I use it all the time at the office.

    1. Stamp-bot?

    2. I had a college professor who had a stamp witha bull’s head and BS at the bottom. It could be given in a derogatory or praiseful manner, depending on how you slung the BS (after all isn’t that what college and asking for warrants all about???)

      1. My favorite rubber stamp, based on a gag from the movie Top Secret! (1984).

      2. My father in law has a similar stamp.

        He claims he’s always been to chicken to use it, but that leaving on his desk seem to have some effect on students coming to ask for a reconsideration of their grades.

  5. I don’t care about the overabundance of foreign intelligence requests. Kinda , no harm/no foul.

    The domestic intelligence is more of a concern but I am not sure how we can curtail any abuse; denudation is an issue too

  6. Is It Hard to Put a Rubber Stamp on an Email?

    Just set up an autoreply: “APPROVED”.

  7. I bet if you could find the reason for the two denials in 2009, it would turn out to be something like “illegible handwriting on a paper form.”

  8. Yep… that Obama admin, soooooooo different than Bush’s.

  9. “As the Wired article linked above notes, it may just be that the FBI has gotten very, very good as sussing out what the courts is going to go for. ”

    …the courts ARE going for everything the FBI asks, else they could be investigated as well.

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