Covered at Reason 24/7: Administration Insists on Secrecy for Surveillance Court Opinions


Reason 24/7

We could publish Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court opinions, but then we'd have to kill everybody. That's the gist of the Obama administration's arguments in a federal court room, give or take a little literary license. Well, a lot of literary license. Anyway, the administration doesn't want us knowing the details of a FISA ruling that went against the government — or any other decisions of the court. Do you think federal officials are just getting bashful? The administration's argument's came in response to efforts by the Electronic Frontier Foundation to unearth just what sort of surveillance could be so over the top that it offended even the secretive FISA court.

From Wired:

The President Barack Obama administration is informing a federal judge that if it's forced to disclose a secret court opinion about the government illegally spying on Americans, the likely result could be "exceptionally grave and serious damage to the national security."

The statement came in response to a lawsuit demanding the administration disclose a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court opinion issued as early as last year. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) was briefed on the opinion as a member of the Intelligence Committee and was authorized last year to reveal that the surveillance had "circumvented the spirit of the law" and was "unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment."

The Electronic Frontier Foundation of San Francisco sought the ruling as part of a Freedom of Information Act request. The government rejected the request. The digital rights group sued in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

In response, the government said that disclosure of the secret opinion should be barred because it "implicates classified intelligence sources and methods."

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  1. Why the heck didnt I think of that. Wow.

  2. “The President Barack Obama administration is informing a federal judge that if it’s forced to disclose a secret court opinion about the government illegally spying on Americans, the likely result could be “exceptionally grave and serious damage to the national security.””

    Can we hope it’s explosive enough to cause armed insurrection?

    1. Well the media is outraged by these developments. Outraged I tell you! I think some Ivy league students are planning some large protests outside the white house. Any any day now.

      1. Strong letter to follow!
        But the NYT will tell us that it’s all for our own good, praise the Obama!

  3. Oh, Cooch. Don’t be santorum!

    1. That is some of the stupidest shit I have ever read. It’s so insanely stupid that I can’t even wrap my mind around how to comment on it.

    2. Has he lost his mind? Is that not statutory rape anyway? Or is it not rape because it sounds like the girl was just “solicited”?

      1. It’s par for the course. We have thousands of laws against things which were already prohibited by thousands of other laws. And they are piling on by the minute because each of them has to ‘do something’ to prove they are, for the most part, protecting the children.

        Our government has no legitimacy left at all. Anarchy is inevitable.

      2. According to wikipedia’s entry on Virginia’s age of consent, yes it would be.

        But the rub is that the sodomy law is harsher than the statutory rape law. If I’m reading it right.

        1. Good thing they didn’t leave out animate object penetration from the list…

          1. What about self penetration by inanimate object? Victimless crime you say? I think not! And the only good thing for the victim, who is also the criminal, is serious jail time! It’s time for a war on dildos!

            1. Don’t worry, they have that covered too.

              1. Good. But we need an acronym for this new war, WOD is already taken.

                1. Why not just call it the dildo war.

                  1. War Against Newfangled Genital Stimulation. (WANGS!)

        2. That, plus possibly a mistake made by the original prosecutor.

          I take this as mostly typical prosecutor “let’s hit them with the worst thing we have” shenanigans.

          Still incredibly stupid.

      3. According to Wikipedia, the age of consent in Virginia is 18, so, IMO, yes.

        1. This is supposed to be in answer to Nikki @ 8:19

          1. Now I see that jesse already addressed this below. Never mind.

            1. It’s an important bit of information. There’s enough space for everyone to reference wikipedia’s age of consent page.

    3. What an idiot.

      Sidenote: How in the hell has that law already not been overturned? Lawrence v. Texas was 10 years ago, so shouldn’t all anti-sodomy laws have been nullified by that?

      1. Well that’s the point. The court is saying Lawrence did overturn this. When there’s a case like that, states normally don’t actually go through and repeal their laws without their being challenged. I’m sure a lot of states still have unconstitutional anti-sodomy laws.

        1. You crazed liberal. If we don’t have these laws, snowflakes will be ass raped in the streets, in broad daylight. These laws are the only thing keeping it from happening. Why do you hate the children?

          1. Goddamn Cosmos, huh Hyperion.

            1. Actually, the cosmonauts may be our only hope for the final frontier, now that the US space program sucks ballz,c can’t even get out of low orbit now, for 40 years…

              I didn’t even know that Nicole is Russian, let alone a cosmo. Hey, let’s send her to Mars!

              Hey Nicole, we want some Mars rocks for souvenirs!

              1. It could take her up to 24 minutes to reply to posts! It would cripple her participation at Reason.

                1. What are you talking about, that’s her normal response time.

                  1. Not always!

                    1. Ok, sometimes it only takes you 23 minutes. Now get us those Mars rocks for our souvenir shelves!

      2. The courts of Virginia have ruled that these statutes are not invalid under the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Lawrence v. Texas since that case only applied to adults, and the age of majority in Virginia is 18. This means that those 18 and above involved in consensual activity in private may have a defense in court, but those under 18 do not.

        1. You guys sound like you expect me to read the article or something.

          What kind of monsters are you? You should be more forgiving of semi-literate people like me, you ableists.

          1. Oooh, sorry, that’s from wikipedia’s entry on Virginia. I’ve broken a cardinal rule of the internet and failed to attribute.

            1. Don’t worry, the rules around here, are, there ain’t no stinkin rules.

          2. I’ll save you the trouble, it’s so fucking retarded, it will make your head hurt.

    4. I think I understand what’s going on now. 50 years ago the democrats hatched a plan to destroy the republican party. They trained spys to become prominent members of the GOP so that one day when the time was right they could have them all simultaniously start saying the stupidest shit ever said at anytime ever in history. The retared tripe that came out of their mouths would be so banely idiotic that they would discredit the entire party for a millinium. That has to be what it is.

      1. It would be a plausible theory, if it weren’t for the fact that Democrats, even very high profile ones, say things equally stupid, all of the time.

        1. If you need examples, just 2 words should be sufficient: Joe Biden

          1. Or that Colorado Congresscritter that’s said not one, but two incredibly stupid things about guns.

          2. Yeah, but they have always been able to counton their shit being glossed over by the media (see present article) whereas they know that the media will call out the GOP idiots every time.

        2. Great minds think alike, Hyperion. Unfortunately, so do mediocre ones.

  4. So the government created its own rubber stamp “court” with basically no oversight, and now it is actually abstaining from rubber stamping some things? It has to be just a set up to make people think the “court” is worth anything.

    1. Sure, it’s based on their successful model for setting up new bureaucracies with basically no oversight.

      1. Which live on forever. Top men.

  5. OT: Maya Angelou says she likes to have guns around and once fired at a home intruder.

    The free bird thinks of another breeze
    an the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
    and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn

    My kind of poet.

    1. I have a bit of a problem with hypocrites:
      “Maya Angelou: Obama Supporters Must Get Out and Vote:
      Poet-activist writes guest column urging voters to actively support the president”

      1. Eh. You can support Obama and not be in favor of gun bans. On the Daily Kos article someone posted earlier, most of the commenters were opposed to gun bans, even though they were all progressives.

        She’s not necessarily hypocritical, unless you can show me a quote she had about the need for gun control.

        1. It would be hypocritical if she supported Obama’s gun banning.

          It’s possible to support a politician and disagree with some of what they do. In fact, it’s almost impossible NOT to disagree with every politician at least sometime.

  6. Wait, never fear! The Indians have solved this pedophile sodomy crisis! Without any politicians! Amazing new technology!

    Anti-rape underwear

    1. South Africa already had you covered with VAGINA DENTATA FEMALE CONDOMS

      I chose a jezebel link on purpose *laughs maniacally*

      1. That made my toe hurt. Damn you Jesse!

      2. That has unintended consequences written all over it.

        1. If it really worked, how could it stay on so tight that it couldn’t be removed with something, like say, a razor knife(very carefully of course).

        2. It could possibly enrage someone capable of violent rape to become much more violent. I suggest the person who would use such a thing to stick with a good pepper spray weapon instead. Durrr.

        Whoever came up with such an idea is demented, and needs to get their ass sued into poverty when the first potential rape victim using of these is murdered.

        1. Not to mention the rapist at the world cup may just go anal instead. Not to mention there could definitely be risks to the wearer.

          1. Well, someone stupid enough to be sticking something like that up themselves probably deserves whatever unintended consequences they get But in this case, the person who thought this up is obviously so psychotically vindictive, that I have to think they are liable to anyone harmed by this stupidity.

            1. Rape statistics are pretty bad in South Africa, I can imagine anything to terrify potential rapists is a positive.

              1. You want to know how bad sexual violence in South Africa has become?


                Let that sink in for a moment.

                Two men are due to appear at a court in Johannesburg on Tuesday, accused of raping a five-month-old girl who was discovered covered in blood and in tears.

                It is the latest in a series of rapes of baby girls – some of them involving children less than one year-old, which has left South Africans reeling with horror.

                Yeah. Anyone still have a positive view of human nature?

                I’m normally against the death penalty…but if I found out that someone had done something like this, I’d want him to die as horribly as possible.

                1. “Yeah. Anyone still have a positive view of human nature?”

                  Yes, I do.
                  The shitheads of the world who externalize their vileness are common enough; blame the concept of “democracy”
                  Those who physically engage in such are in the extreme minority.

              2. South Africa is on my no visit list. The crime is horrific across the board. Not worth it.

                My daughter-in-law and her husband visited there for the first time last month.

                I was concerned about it and expressed that concern to my wife. They got robbed at an ATM machine.

                I have a co-worker who was also there a couple months ago, and wasn’t the victim of any crime, but witnessed someone get assaulted and robbed, in broad daylight in Cape Town.

                There have been stories of horrific murders there recently.

                Fuck that shit.

    2. Some guys might like the boobie taser.

  7. OT, but hey, it’s late for PM links.
    If you owned a game-design company and had an eye on recent ‘makes kids nuts’ lefty propaganda/attempts at legislation, what would you do?
    “Disney: Game over at S.F.’s LucasArts”
    …”we’ve decided to shift (videogame division) LucasArts from an internal development to a licensing model, minimizing the company’s risk”…”Some reports put the number of jobs at about 150.”

    Read more:…..z2PSCtRE2B

    1. Unintended consequences? No, it can’t be!

      Any game company who refuses to make the violent games that their customers love, will not sell games. Their competitors will. End of story.

      The government can only destroy so many multi-billion dollar industries before there is no one left to steal money from to support the lifestyles of their worthless parasites.

      This legislation is never going anywhere anyway, except for maybe in Aussie Wack-O land. Even Murikan lefties love their violent games.

      1. “This legislation is never going anywhere anyway, except for maybe in Aussie Wack-O land.”
        It’s true, and it’s also irrelevant (as you know).
        Like the gun laws/run on gun purchases, the market is predictive. So the stories about ‘violent games’ (and they’ve been hyped like crazy by the whacko SF Chron, which now hides the stories behind a pay wall) mean the Mouse Bosses took a look and said ‘nice knowing you; here’s the pink slip’ to 150 people.
        Now those folks live in the SF environs; they’re not gonna end up driving cabs. But see that Obamacare crap coming down the pike? They *ain’t* gonna have medical benes.
        I hope every one of the weenies who voted for Obozo gets stuck with self-pay insurance! At, oh, a grand a month or so, assholes!

  8. The Pittsburgh Penguins have imploded without Crosby.

    1. This happens every dang trade deadline.

      We get some hot shots, lose some of our players to injury and start losing. Best trade year we ever had got us Bill Guerin.

  9. America Threatens to Wage War: US Escalates Military Tensions over North Korean Nuclear Program

    Washington is continuing to escalate military tensions in the global crisis triggered by the US confrontation with North Korea over its nuclear program. All of the region’s major powers are carrying out military exercises amid rising fears of a war fueled by the US “pivot to Asia,” aimed at containing China, North Korea’s main ally and protector.

    Under these conditions, US imperialism appears set to further escalate its military threats in an attempt to whip Pyongyang and Beijing into line.

    1. What an unbiased article! It’s not like North Korea has done anything to warrant our suspicions. They are pure as the driven snow, and are simply being mistreated by the evil imperialists of Washington.

      North Korea uber alles!

      1. Irish| 4.3.13 @ 11:22PM |#
        “What an unbiased article! It’s not like North Korea has done anything to warrant our suspicions.”

        Yep, can’t gripe about the bias, but WIH is the US doing in that local disagreement?

    2. Dunno who “Global Research” (your link) is, but I like ’em already:
      “The Growing Campaign to Revoke Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize” You *GO* GR!
      And I agree; it is strictly a local conflict. China, ROC, Japan and South Korea are more than capable of dealing with it. Let ’em.

        1. OK, but I still have to like any source trying to remove the “peace price” from Obozo; just too good!

      1. It’s a post out of Canada, they clearly can’t be trusted.

        *flips switch on Pantsfan signal*

        1. Irish is right. Leftist Alex Jones stuff.

          1. That was considerably more effective than I thought it would be.

            1. It wasn’t you. I turned off the lights, looked in a mirror, and said ‘Hockey’ three times while pouring maple syrup on the floor.

              You clearly don’t know how to summon the Archduke. There are rituals involved.

              1. Gah, why would you pour maple syrup on the floor? summoning Pantsfan can’t be worth wasting such a precious natural resource.

                1. Says the man whose floor isn’t made of pancakes.

                2. I can’t be summoned. I come and go as I please.

  10. A rose by any other name

    NDP ponders deleting socialism from its guiding statement

    The existing statement outlines the “principles of democratic socialism,” including the concepts of “social ownership,” “social planning,” and the idea that goods and services should be directed toward the people “and not to the making of profit.”

    New Democrats affirm a role for government in helping to create the conditions for sustainable prosperity,’ says the proposed preamble

  11. Oh, and if there is/are socks, pretty sure Guy Laguy is one.
    Cheezy handle, blatant links, etc.

    1. Yeah, he posts crap a lot.

  12. Now you know: How to Dress

    1. I hate pencil skirts.

      Every time I wear one my gun falls to the floor with a loud clang at least once during my day, usually in line at starbux.

      1. Wearing underwear under the skirt will fix that problem. But I do have to wonder why it clangs when it hits the floor – brass balls?

  13. The mainstream view being espoused by globalist-minded politicians and corporate oligarchs with an agenda is that North Korea is a nuclear armed monstrosity ready to use any subversive means necessary to strike the United States. The idea that the North is working closely with Al-Qaeda has been suggested in everything from White House briefings to cable news to movies and television. The concept of pan-global terrorist collusion and the cartoon-land “axis of evil” has been prominent in our culture since the Administration of George W. Bush. It has even been making a resurgence lately in the MSM, which presented countries like Iran, Syria And North Korea as the primary culprits interfering with the success of the U.N. Small Arms Treaty.

  14. The season finale of Justified was outstanding.

    1. Yeah, looks like Boyd is gonna go scorched earth next season. I can’t wait.

      1. and a baby Raylette!

  15. Ok Reason, let’s get some press about Doctor Brain Fixer Ben Carson.

    I’m not saying he’s been purposely ignored here, but I just did a search and I got zero results. That seems off. He’s saying things that should resonate with libertarians easily.

    1. Every society in the history of man has upheld the institution of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman. […] In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality[Santorum interrupted by interviewer]

      Rick Santorum, 2003

      Well, my thoughts are that marriage is between a man and a woman. It’s a well-established, fundamental pillar of society and no group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality. It doesn’t matter what they are. They don’t get to change the definition. So he, it’s not something that is against gays, it’s against anybody who wants to come along and change the fundamental definitions of pillars of society. It has significant ramifications.

      Dr. Ben Carson, 2013

      The guy said, 10 years later, almost the exact same thing that got Santorum redefined into a sexual biproduct.

      1. He also said this-

        We need doctors, we needs scientists, engineers. We need all those people involved in government, not just lawyers?I don’t have anything against lawyers, but you know, here’s the thing about lawyers?I’m sorry, but I got to be truthful?got to be truthful ? what do lawyers learn in law school? To win, by hook or by crook. You gotta win, so you got all these Democrat lawyers, and you got all these Republican lawyers and their sides want to win. We need to get rid of that. What we need to start thinking about is, how do we solve problems?

        Now, before I get shot, let me finish. I don’t like to bring up problems without coming up with solutions. My wife and I started the Carson Scholars Fund 16 years ago after we heard about an international survey looking at the ability of eight graders in 22 countries to solve math and science problems, and we came out No. 21 out of 22. We only barely beat out Number 22 ? very concerning.

        We go to to these schools and we’d see all these trophies: State Basketball, State Wrestling, this, that and the other. The Quarterback was the Big Man on Campus. What about the intellectual Superstar? What did they get? A National Honor Society pin? A pat on the head, there, there little Nerd? Nobody cared about them. And is it any wonder that sometimes the smart kids try to hide? …..


        1. We would give them money. The money would go into a Trust. They would get interest on it. When they would go to college they would get the money, but also the school gets a trophy, every bit as impressive as a sports trophy ? right out there with the others. They get a medal. They get to go t a banquet. We try to put them on a pedestal as impressive as we do the All-State athletes. I have nothing against athletics or entertainment. I’m from Baltimore. The Ravens won. This is great ? okay. But, but ? what will maintain our position in the world? The ability to shoot a 25 foot jump shot or the ability to solve a quadratic equation? We need to put the things into proper perspective.

          Many teachers have told us that when we put a Carson Scholar in their classroom, the GPA of the whole classroom goes up over the next year. It’s been very gratifying. We started 16 years ago with 25 scholarships in Maryland, now we’ve given out more than 5,000 and we are in all 50 states, but we’ve also put in Reading Rooms. These are fascinating places that no little kid could possibly pass up. And uh, they get points for the amount of time they spend reading, and the number of books they read. They can trade the points for prizes. In the beginning they do it for the prizes, but it doesn’t take long before their academic performance begins to improve.

          But you’re right, the gay marriage stuff is troubling.

          1. I’m not trying to say he isn’t a great guy on a number of issues, but even if he were otherwise perfect, he just made an identical gaffe to the one that effectively ruined Rick Santorum, and he did it a decade later.

            1. I guess I’m more interested in what he has said and the reaction thereof than whether or not he’s ruined from any political standpoint. Not to mention his pretty amazing story.

              I disagree with him about his gay marriage stance but I don’t with most of what else I’ve read that he’s talked about. My point was simply that he’s in a unique position to speak about liberty and I’m surprised Reason hasn’t at least had a post about him.

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