Posted by Randy Gainer
A Washington Post article on February 9, 2006 revealed that the Chief Judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court directed the Department of Justice in 2004 not to present applications for FISA orders to the FISA Court (FISC) that were based on information gathered through the NSA’s domestic surveillance program. The previous Chief Judge of the FISC, Royce C. Lamberth, reportedly issued a similar directive to the DoJ as well. Judge Lamberth and Judge Kollar-Kotelly were the only members of the FISC that had been told about the NSA program. The directives of the two FISC Chief Judges “reveals the depth of their doubts about its legality and their behind-the-scenes efforts to protect the court from what they considered potentially tainted evidence,” the Post says.
The Post’s revelation comes a week after Newsweek reported that several high-ranking lawyers in the DoJ also questioned the legality of the NSA program. That the two judges of the FISC who knew about the NSA program and several Administration loyalists in the DoJ all had serious questions about the legality of the program contradicts President Bush’s and Attorney General Gonzalez’s claims that the program is “clearly” legal. Perhaps Bush Administration officials are choosing to believe lawyers who tell them what they want to hear while they ignore expert judges and lawyers who refuse to go along with administration plans.