FISA

Former FISA Court Judge Says It Has Flaws

Lack of adversarial court system a real problem

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A former federal judge who served on a secret court overseeing the National Security Agency's secret surveillance programs denied Tuesday that the judges act as "rubber stamps." But James Robertson said the system is flawed because of its failure to allow legal adversaries to question the government's actions.

"Anyone who has been a judge will tell you a judge needs to hear both sides of a case," Robertson, a former federal district judge based in Washington who served on the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, said during a hearing of the federal oversight board directed by President Barack Obama to scrutinize government spying.

Robertson questioned whether the secret FISA court should play the role of providing legal approval for the surveillance programs, saying the court "has turned into something like an administrative agency."

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