The horrible whitewashing of the Obama administration's surveillance programs is not just unbecoming for a man of Kaufman's credentials and experience, but could most hopefully be taken as a sign of early dementia (and least charitably taken as a sign he's been bought off).
Here is Kaufman on surveillance and the FISA court, with the realities he chooses to gloss over provided in between:
Anyone who watches a legal thriller on TV knows that before searching someone’s home, business, car, etc. the police must first ask a judge for permission. If she doesn’t think they have a compelling reason to do so, she says no.
Exactly the same rules apply to national security cases. A government agency must obtain a warrant from a federal judge, one of the 11 sitting on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, before it can “search and seize.”Reality: the FISA Court approval rate for requested warrants is 99.97%. Moreover, the few sources we have into the FISA Court tell us that the standards--unlike Ted's contention--are significantly lower than police must meet in a criminal case.
Yeah, boy, Ted, they are really looking out for due process and probable cause.
Are their decisions about granting or denying surveillance applications a secret? Of course they are, but that is no different than decisions about granting police the right to wire tap a suspect’s phone in any criminal investigation. It is obvious why that decision must remain a secret.Reality: because their decisions have remained secret and exempt from any case by case oversight, the FISA court has progressively (sorry, couldn't resist the pun) redefined the meaning of the term "relevant" in such fashion that it now hardly ever finds any request not to meet that standard.
For years during the Cold War the U.S. was able to secretly monitor the intelligence on the Soviet Union’s submarine activity. Had the Soviets known what methods were used they could have stopped the flow of information in a second. That is one of the reasons the WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden disclosures are so harmful. Some of the intelligence they revealed did endanger agents. But even more importantly, once you see the intelligence, it is much easier to determine how the intelligence has been gathered and stop that source.Uh, Ted? I guess you missed the whole Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers thing. What Bradley Manning (let's use the name of the young man) revealed was the casual brutality and civilian targeting of our drone missions.
The lame-ass argument of the Pentagon that having the camera angles of the attacks would make it easier for Al Qaeda to figure out how to avoid future drone attacks is not--even if it were true--on the same level as Soviet nuclear spying.
Or the old saw that Edward Snowden endangered agents? Which ones, Ted? The ones sitting in Langley reading my emails while their asses get fatter and their coffee gets colder?
What is particularly chilling is to fine a once-principled, progressive/liberal like Ted Kaufman now stooging for a regime of intrusive surveillance not even contemplated by Richard Nixon or J. Edgar Hoover. OK, maybe they contemplated it, but they never figured they'd be able to get away with it.
This is perhaps the most offensive platitude in Ted's whole piece:
The people I know who are involved in intelligence oversight believe in our Fourth Amendment rights.No, Ted, they don't.
And sadly, neither do you, any more.