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FISC Reapproves the NSA Surveillance Program
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The secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) reapproved the NSA phone metadata collection program this week, following two diverging opinions in separate federal courts concerning the constitutionality of the program. A spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence confirmed this fact to the media.

Shawn Turner, the spokesman for NSA said that 15 judges on the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court have approved the NSA’s metadata collection program on 36 separate occasions over the past seven years. As such, the process has become more of a mere formality.

  
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However, following the public outcry after the leaks made by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who is now hiding in Russia, many have questioned the surveillance program. This does not only include the public, but also courts and politicians. A presidential advisory panel has already recommended that the NSA should stop collecting U.S. phone records indiscriminately.

Also this week, the government moved on another front to validate the NSA surveillance program. The government appealed against the federal judge Richard Leon’s order before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The government has moved to block Leon’s order that suggests the NSA program is unconstitutional and ruled in favor of those who challenged the program.

Turner also said that the Obama administration was carefully looking into the NSA surveillance program and the recommendations of the presidential advisory panel, and U.S. intelligence agencies could modify the phone records surveillance program to guarantee additional privacy and civil liberties protections, as long as it was still operationally beneficial.

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Judges of the secret court are known to have approved the program on 90-day interval without any fuss for the past years, and they have also repeatedly upheld the constitutionality of the program which Leon described as “Orwellian.”

Summary:



The U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) reapproved the NSA phone metadata collection program. This surveillance program not only includes the public, but also courts and politicians. Many have questioned the program, following the public outcry after the leaks made by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Shawn Turner, a spokesperson for NSA said that the Obama administration was carefully looking into it and may modify the program to guarantee additional privacy and civil liberties protections.



 

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