Saturday’s Seattle Post Intelligencer — not known as part of the vast right wing media conspiracy — reported that the FISA court — supposedly the speedy authorizer of intelligence surveillance warrants — was holding up and ordering “substantive modifications” to search warrant requests.
Interestingly, the report says that in the first 20 of the court’s 21 annual reports, none of the requested warrants were turned down or even modified. But since 2001, at least six warrants were turned down and 173 subjected to substantive modification. So much for the speed this court issues warrants. Now the Bush administration is offering to brief the court on the warrentless NSA searches. Why now? Here’s the money quote:
“The Bush administration, responding to concerns expressed by some judges on the 11-member panel, agreed last week to give them a classified briefing on the domestic spying program. U.S. District Judge Malcolm Howard, a member of the panel, told CNN that the Bush administration agreed to brief the judges after U.S. District Judge James Robertson resigned from the FISA panel, apparently to protest Bush’s spying program.”
Maybe Robertson was the problem. And his resignation is the solution.