Just when we thought the absurdity that marks every single day of Obama's reign could not possibly be surpassed, we learned that 4 hours (3 hours and 47 minutes to be precise) after the US president vowed to sign a new law banning bulk data collection by the NSA (named, for purely grotesque reasons, the "USA Freedom Act"), the Obama administration asked the secret Fisa surveillance court to ignore a federal court that found bulk surveillance illegal and to once again grant the National Security Agency the power to collect the phone records of millions of Americans for six months.
Or, as the Guardian's Spencer Ackerman, who spotted this glaring page out of Josef Stalin's playbook, summarized it:
June 2, 6:03pm: Obama says he'll sign law banning bulk collection.
June 2 9:50pm: DOJ asks secret court for 180 more days of bulk collection
— Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman) June 8, 2015
According to Ackerman, this latest travesty by the administration "suggests that the administration may not necessarily comply with any potential court order demanding that the collection stop."
Or, in other words, the administration "may" give orders that openly flaunt US laws. From the Guardian:
US officials confirmed last week that they would ask the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court – better known as the Fisa court, a panel that meets in secret as a step in the surveillance process and thus far has only ever had the government argue before it – to turn the domestic bulk collection spigot back on.
This is a problem because Justice Department national security chief John A Carlin cited a six-month transition period provided in the USA Freedom Act – passed by the Senate last week to ban the bulk collection – as a reason to permit an “orderly transition” of the NSA’s domestic dragnet. However, Carlin "did not address whether the transition clause of the Freedom Act still applies now that a congressional deadlock meant the program shut down on 31 May."
So after the second circuit court of appeals already ruled NSA surveillance illegal, and after Congress officially shut down NSA's bulk data collection in its current form, Obama's DOJ decided to singlehandedly order that NSA spying on Americans be extended for at least another 6 months.
Follow the details of how the US Department of "Justice" crushes every semblance thereof:
Carlin asked the Fisa court to set aside a landmark declaration by the second circuit court of appeals. Decided on 7 May, the appeals court ruled that the government had erroneously interpreted the Patriot Act’s authorization of data collection as “relevant” to an ongoing investigation to permit bulk collection.
Carlin, in his filing, wrote that the Patriot Act provision remained “in effect” during the transition period.
“This court may certainly consider ACLU v Clapper as part of its evaluation of the government’s application, but second circuit rulings do not constitute controlling precedent for this court,” Carlin wrote in the 2 June application. Instead, the government asked the court to rely on its own body of once-secret precedent stretching back to 2006, which Carlin called “the better interpretation of the statute”.
The second circuit court of appeals is supposed to bind only the circuit’s lower courts. But the unique nature of the Fisa court – whose rulings practically never became public before whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations – has left ambiguous which public court precedents it is obliged to follow.
Said otherwise, the NSA's espionage activity is above the law, any law.
Amusingly, some still harbor hope that "justice" is still a viable concept in the United States, such as the FreedomWorks conservative group, which is asking the Fisa court to essentially disband itself:
On Friday, the conservative group FreedomWorks filed a rare motion before the Fisa court, asking it to reject the government’s surveillance request as a violation of the fourth amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures. Fisa court judge Michael Moseman gave the justice department until this coming Friday to respond – and explicitly barred the government from arguing that FreedomWorks lacks the standing to petition the secret court.
Which, incidentally, is like asking Wall Street to police itself. A quick reminder of what happened there: after gross market manipulation was taking place for years involving trillions of interest-rate products, the person who witnessed it every single day called it, don't laugh, a "conspiracy theory."
Incidentally, "conspiracy theorists" is precisely what all those who accused the NSA of engaging in mass illegal surveillance even before the Snowden revelations, were branded as. And, we are confident, before all is said and done, the "conspiracy theorists" who dare speak the truth against the surreal Orwellian state that the US finds itself in, will be crushed by the administration, both the current and the one that will replace it, whose every day modus operandi is taken straight out of the Stalin memoirs.