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MY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR REFORM AND
AMENDMENT OF THE FISA-PATRIOT ACT

 

  1. Add as a preamble: “This statute shall not apply to any American citizen, unless there is probable cause to believe that he or she has committed, or is about to commit, an act of terrorism against the United States.

Furthermore, nothing in this statute shall be deemed to interfere with the right of any American citizen or member of the newspaper, press, or media, to exercise his or her Constitutional right to express his opinion, in the form of political dissent”.

  1. Restore discretion to Federal Judges, sitting on the secret, FISA-PATRIOT-Court, by allowing them the right to deny requests for surveillance submitted to them. Currently their right to do so has been taken away by the FISA procedural rules, which, in classical Orwellian doublespeak language (Footnote 1) effectively prevent those Judges from denying any requests made to them, making them virtually “rubber stamp” for the Executive Department.

This assures that the FISA Court surveillance conforms to the will of the Executive Department thereby becoming highly politicized.

  1. Eliminate inherent contradictions which are currently included in many FISA-Patriot Act provisions. For instance section 1805-A requires a FISA Court Judge to grant an order of surveillance only when he finds that there is probable cause to believe that the target is a foreign power, or an agent of a foreign power.

But the preceding section, Section 1804, contains a different and lower standard for the evidence already presented to that same Judge, namely that the evidence must only satisfy the test of justifying the sincere “belief” of the government attorney presenting it.

This Orwellian type of inconsistency could also easily be corrected, by requiring merely that the government attorney must also present some actual “evidence” justifying his conclusion that the surveillance is needed.

  1. Amend the Statute to comply with the explicit 4th Amendment requirement that a “warrant” be issued by the Court granting the surveillance request. This would place the procedure of the FISA Court within a Constitutional framework, instead of suggesting that such Court is not bound by the Constitution.

In addition, the Court should also follow the 4th Amendment requirement that the surveillance order must specify the “things to seized”.Otherwise, upon entry into the premises, the FBI can seize anything it sees or picks up, and the target may never know what is missing from his premises, and may never see such items again.

  1. In order to strengthen Congressional oversight of the FISA Court- and to create a Constitutional “check and balance” by the legislative branch over the Executive  branch of government, the Statute should be amended to require a public disclosure by the Court each year of all wiretaps and surveillance that have been conducted for more than one  year.

Furthermore, in order to prevent the creation of any long-term, hidden “Gulag” (Ft. 2), where political dissenters might be placed under long-term punitive, confiscatory surveillance, without any notice given to them whatsoever, the Statute should be amended to require that “actual notice” be given to any person placed under surveillance by FISA order (“Target”) for more than 3 years, and thereafter such target is accorded an appropriate opportunity to challenge the validity and Constitutionality of such surveillance in open, Federal Court.

 

Ft. 1- Confusing, contradictory language used in “1984”, by George Orwell, 1949.

Ft. 2- Refers to “Gulag Archipelago”, by Alexander Solzinitzen, 1973

 

End-

George A. Mathewson, Esq.