Congress: Government of Which People?
[col. writ. 9/23/07]
(c) '07 Mumia Abu-Jamal
Several months ago, members of the Democratic majority in Congress (especially those on the Judiciary committees), argued loudly against the White House’s actions in illegally wiretapping the phones and computers of Americans.
What made this illegal was the actions were taken without the oversight of the FISA court, a secret court (which, until quite recently, had its offices at the Justice Dept.), that functioned like little more than a judicial rubber stamp for the executive branch.
Under the F.I.S.A. (or Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act), the government had to seek a court order for most taps involving foreign contacts. If there was a serious threat to national security, such court orders could be issued retroactively – meaning the taps could take place, and then the court would issue a writ – after the fact.