The federal court set up to review government requests for surveillance involving issues of national security is either rubber-stamping everything that it sees, or the FBI and the National Security Agency are incredibly good at filing these requests. A new report claims that the court approved every single one of the 1,457 requests it received last year.
This is according to Reuters, which cites a Justice Department memo sent to Congressional leaders regarding the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court [FISC].
The memo states that the requests were not even partially rejected by the FISC, though a total of 80 surveillance requests were modified by the court before being approved. Reuters reports that in 2013, FISC approved all 1,379 requests while only modifying 19 of them.
The court, created as part of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, has long operated secretly. Recently passed legislation ordered the Director of National Intelligence and the U.S. Attorney General to conduct a declassification review of “each decision, order, or opinion issued” by these two courts “that includes a significant construction or interpretation of any provision of law” and to make each document “publicly available to the greatest extent practicable.”
Last month, the Electronic Frontier Foundation sued the DOJ after the EFF’s Freedom Of Information Act requests regarding FISC decisions were denied.