Even America's Secret Courts Are Worried

"For many citizens, the notion of an American 'secret court' would appear a striking contradiction in terms," writes law professor Jonathan Turley. "Until last week's disclosures by Congress, few Americans were aware that our government routinely used such a court to conduct searches of its own citizens for the purpose of foreign intelligence gathering, searches that would be denied as unconstitutional by any conventional court." Under the little-known Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the secret court has operated for more than two decades, approving more than 10,000 covert seaches (and has never turned down a single request!). We're hearing about it now because the secret court itself is blowing the whistle over the Ashcroft Justice Department's Kafkaesque power grab which threatens to eliminate the distinction between spying on foreign enemies and spying on U.S. citizens.