Is any kind of meaningful democracy possible in a régime of secret law? — This is the question raised by the lead article in Sunday’s *New York Times*, which said that the FISA court “has quietly become almost a parallel Supreme Court, serving as the ultimate arbiter on surveillance issues and delivering opinions that will most likely shape intelligence practices for years to come.” — Its “rulings, some nearly 100 pages long, reveal that the court has taken on a much more expansive role by regularly assessing broad constitutional questions and establishing important judicial precedents, with almost no public scrutiny,” Eric Lichtblau reported.
“In one of the court’s most important decisions, the judges have expanded the use in terrorism cases of a legal principle known as the ‘special needs’ doctrine and carved out an exception to the Fourth Amendment’s requirement of a warrant for searches and seizures.”
COMMENT: This is comparable to the U.S. national security state’s invention of a “state secrets” doctrine early in the nuclear era. — As UFPPC said in a statement in a year ago, ( http://www.ufppc.org/ufppc-statements-mainmenu-29/11025/ ) “pervasive secrecy will make democracy untenable in the long run. — Pervasive secrecy means that the American public is unable to evaluate properly the behavior of nations and groups that the U.S. regards as adversaries or enemies. — Their overtly hostile acts, which are usually presented as ‘aggressive,’ are often defensive in nature. — And all too often, the U.S. government is going so far as to consider the efforts of American citizens to maintain open government to be hostile acts as well.” — This is precisely what has happened to Edward Snowden. –Mark] In Secret, Court Vastly Broadens Powers of N.S.A.