FISA Court Finds "Serious Fourth Amendment Issue" In Obama's "Widespread" Illegal Searches Of American Citizens

Tyler Durden's picture

A newly released court order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) found that the National Security Agency, under former President Obama, routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall.  In describing the violations, the FISA court said the illegal searches conducted by the NSA under Obama were "widespread" and created a "very serious Fourth Amendment issue."

These new discoveries come from a recently unsealed FISA court document dated April 26, 2017 and center around a hearing dated October 26, 2017, just days before the 2016 election, in which the FISA court apparently learned for the first time of "widespread" and illegal spying on American citizens by the NSA under the Obama administration.

"The October 26, 2016 Notice disclosed that an NSA Inspector General (IG) review...indicated that, with greater frequency than previously disclosed to the Court, NSA analysts had used U.S.-person identifiers to query the result of Internet "upstream" collection, even though NSA's section 702 minimization procedures prohibited such queries...this disclosure gave the Court substantial concern."



The court order goes on to reveal that NSA analysts had been conducting illegal queries targeting American citizens "with much greater frequency than had previously been disclosed to the Court" issue which the court described as a "very serious Fourth Amendment issue."

"Since 2011, NSA's minimization procedures have prohibited use of U.S.-person identifiers to query the results of upstream Internet collection under Section 702.  The October 26, 2016 Notice informed the Court that NSA analysts had been conducting such queries in violation of that prohibition, with much greater frequency than had previously been disclosed to the Court."


"At the October 26, 2016 hearing, the Court ascribed the government's failure to disclose those IG and OCO reviews at the October 4, 2016 hearing to an institutional 'lack of candor' on NSA's part and emphasized that 'this is a very serious Fourth Amendment issue.'"



Of course, these discoveries and their timing, coming just before the 2016 election, are even more suspicious in light of the Obama administration's efforts to 'unmask' intelligence on various Trump campaign officials shortly after the election.

As Circa noted, the American Civil Liberties Union said the newly disclosed violations are some of the most serious to ever be documented and strongly call into question the U.S. intelligence community’s ability to police itself and safeguard American’s privacy as guaranteed by the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful search and seizure.

“I think what this emphasizes is the shocking lack of oversight of these programs,” said Neema Singh Guliani, the ACLU’s legislative counsel in Washington.


“You have these problems going on for years that only come to the attention of the court late in the game and then it takes additional years to change its practices.


“I think it does call into question all those defenses that we kept hearing, that we always have a robust oversight structure and we have culture of adherence to privacy standards,” she added. “And the headline now is they actually haven’t been in compliacne for years and the FISA court itself says in its opinion is that the NSA suffers from a culture of a lack of candor.”

Of course, we suspect that none of this will be reported by any of the mainstream media outlets who will undoubtedly overlook these very distburbing facts in their ongoing efforts to track down the latest anonymously-sourced 'bombshell' report about how Trump once sat across from a Russian boy at lunch in the 2nd grade.


The full FISA Court opinion can be read here:

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Killtruck's picture

The real "highest court in the land"...

Dormouse's picture

Violating Americans' civil rights should be punishable by death.

Killtruck's picture

You're asking that the single-greatest violator of Americans' civil rights also be in charge of dealing out the punishment?

Did you even read the article? Do you not know how this works? 

BullyBearish's picture

if this actually went anywhere that it can bet shrump would pardon obomber...

The_Juggernaut's picture

CNN, Washington Post, etc. will have a field day with this!



SWRichmond's picture

"I am shocked, shocked I tell you to learn that institutional spying has been going on here."

"Here is all the information on your political opponents, sir"

"Thank you very much".

lil dirtball's picture

> "Serious Fourth Amendment Issue"

Lol. Like anyone gives a fuck about "Serious Fourth Amendment Issues".

The 4th has been defunct for at least 20 years. People now walk around with a government surveillance tool in their pockets with no 'Off' switch and no way to remove the batteries - and have no way to know when it's being used as a passive microphone/camera.

They've come right out and told the domestic population they're all under 24/7/365 surveillance via Snowden/Assange limited hangout ops.

And we're supposed to believe or even care about what Obama may or may not have done? Water long gone under the bridge.

new game's picture

death of a republic is ALWAYS when the courts fail to enforce a constitution.

history in the making, right now, live, before our eyes.

slow motion, as the human mind needs tyme lapse to see 20/20.

enjoy the wanning day/months/years...

rather die free than under the boot of a mindless military/police wank...

El Vaquero's picture

Oh, for fuck's sake, we've known for four fucking years that the NSA has been used for domestic law enforcement purposes, and FISA is just bellyaching about this now?


One current federal prosecutor learned how agents were using SOD tips after a drug agent misled him, the prosecutor told Reuters. In a Florida drug case he was handling, the prosecutor said, a DEA agent told him the investigation of a U.S. citizen began with a tip from an informant. When the prosecutor pressed for more information, he said, a DEA supervisor intervened and revealed that the tip had actually come through the SOD and from an NSA intercept.


The court that is supposed to be providing oversight over these agencies is just now figuring this out?  Really?  Fuck you, FISA. 

Manthong's picture

Nice to see that America’s most well versed in the Law and Constitution now see what we peons have known for the years since Bill Binney’s plight became public.

G W Bush should be tried for his overtly unconstitutional acts.

And the “because the lawyers said I could” is no excuse.


exi1ed0ne's picture

It's almost like secrecy breeds lack of acountability and abuse of. . . well everything.  You can bet your ass that the government "solution" for this will be to double down on secrecy.  With actual pinky swears involved.

Blankone's picture

Maybe this is just to lock Trump out of that system during his term. Make a little show but take no action against any individual (maybe not even name them), lock out Trump and then when a democrate gets back in crank it back up for the political dirt and targeting.

Akzed's picture

FISA approves something like 99.999% of warrant requests. Inspector Renault, please call your office

Doubleguns's picture

Snowden vindicated!!! He deserrves a ticker tape parade and full pardon. 

Ex-Oligarch's picture

I see somebody woke up one of the democrat shills at the ACLU to tell the public an exculpatory fairy tale about how the nice oversight guys knew absolutely nothing about these rogue actors during the Obama administration.

Ghost of Porky's picture

Obama in 2007: "No more illegal wiretapping of American citizens. That's not who we are."

Obama in 2016: "You mean I just type in the person's name and I can spy on them?!? Hell yeah!"

JSBach1's picture

Left to its own devices, the government will undoubtedly resort to subversive rule in short order. Who is surprised by this?

how_this_stuff_works's picture


Already happening.

What is frightening is the degree to which everyone in government cowers rather than uphold the law; inspector generals, state Disciplinary Counsels, state legislators, you name it.

Wink and nod.

JSBach1's picture

Re: Will? (Think in broader contexts)

ends justify the means...

The signs are always present of the inevitable outcome.

Was there ever any doubt that it would come to this?

WorkingPoor's picture

Not by me. The Snowden disclosures were a yawn to me. My major surprise is that he was/is still alive to make them.

Totalitarians have always desired the ability to monitor their people. Hitler would have kissed Stalin and Churchill square on the mouth three times a day for the rest of his life for a TASTE of 1%  of the watchful powers of the NSA. Field Station Southwest Utah was probably sitting in a file someplace for years, updated constantly, until it had root in the Obama Regime.


I hated THE NEWSROOM... but, to be fair, this clip underlines the whole sorry business rather well.



lil dirtball's picture

Wink and a nod, indeed.

Why? Because they're all family. The giant club that Carlin spoke of. That you aren't part of.

Read all about it:

Zorba's idea's picture

Owhatshisname spent eight years fishing under that bridge...I would like to know what he caught and how he shared amongst friends.

Mercury's picture

He's smooth talking, calm, handsome, ethnically majestic....evil and full of shit


January, 2014:  Obama announces new limits on NSA surveillance programs

EhKnowKneeMass's picture

He might be all that and the court might have found "serious fourth amendment issues"; however, did you know that Michelle's fashion is drawing praise and Obama's post-presidency fashion evolution involves a leather jacket. Such a cute couple!

Twatter's abuzz
Fuckbook abuzz
Instagrab abuzz
Poketerest abuzz

I love my bestest, awesomest, extraordinayest president!

Nice Try Lao Che's picture

Maxine Waters just phoned in to say that "Obama dindu nuffin' ~ IMPEACH TRUMP"

SofaPapa's picture

So here's the funny thing.  In general, I dislike the "Dindu Nuffin'" argument, because it's an overly broad code word for simple anti-black racism.  Like all races, there are smart blacks and stupid blacks.  I've talked about this before.  We need to target dysfunctional cultures, not races.

That said... I love this comment.  And the reason is because Maxine Waters is in fact the face of bar-none the least intelligent individuals on the planet.  I don't give a shit if she's black.  She pisses me off because it offends me that any individual of any race with such a clearly demonstrated subhuman IQ should be allowed a platform of "leadership" in our world.

She is that stupid.  And yeah, I'm not sure this isn't her actual reported speech rather than NTLC's commentary.

AllTimeWhys's picture

i'll bet my paycheck nobody will be punished for this, certainly not golden boy Bama

BorisTheBlade's picture

Media: Look, a Russian Squirell.

Coming Up Next: How Do We Impeach Trump.

nmewn's picture

The only justice that will be served will have to come from us. The state will never force itself to police itself,  that is not in its nature. 

That would take character and a clear sense of right & wrong...Fourth Amendment?...Second Amendment? is that? 

You know that's how these bastards think.

Sans-culottes's picture

Justice or "just us" in the system?

nmewn's picture


We should all look at the BoR's as our contract with .gov (at least that's how I look at it) they broke it, not us.

Now with the contract broken we can do whatever we want  ;-)

HenryKissingerBilderberg's picture


that crazy tinfoil-hat conspiracy theory of Obama spying on the presidential candidates like Trump has been OFFICIALLY DECLARED TRUE

Mr T's picture

No, it has been quietly released in its redacted form.

Ghost of PartysOver's picture

Does anyone really think an investigation into these criminal activities will happen.  Anyone think the Special Prosecutor will go down this path in his search for Russia Gate evidence?  Will anyone get an all expense paid "Vacation" to The Big House?   I think NOT.

Got The Wrong No's picture

I think the retractions by FOX, Wheeler and Seth's family and the lack of coverage by the MSM on the latest developments in regards to Seth's murder make perfectly clear their is no way anyone other than Trump and Flynn is going to jail. 

Sans-culottes's picture

Land of the fees and home of the slaves ...Good ol' Merica!

Everybodys All American's picture

So when will the charges of sedition. subversion, and treason be brought upon former president Obama for violating these countless Americans constitutional rights? I knew this bastard was a corrupt Marxist con man and what makes him ever still dangerous is that he is attempting at lest to run a shadow government using his supporters from all over government agencies and especially in the intelligence offfices. What a pos he truly has been shown to be.

south40_dreams's picture

But niggers are allowed to do any damn thing they want, otherwise it's rasis

Ghost of PartysOver's picture

"rayciss".  Don't believe me theh just ax me.

Philthy_Stacker's picture

I like the Avatar of you and your spouse.

GunnerySgtHartman's picture

And yet we are still told that these agencies are trustworthy, that they follow the law, that the citizenry has nothing to worry about ... *COUGH*bullshit*COUGH*

Got The Wrong No's picture

We also have always been told that the Pope is Catholic. Hell, I'm not sure if the bears still shit in the woods. 

LostWages's picture

The search for a hand to slap begins.

Sans-culottes's picture

Still waiting for Hillary to get th slap of cuffs on her wrists, Trump.....crickets anyone ?

Yen Cross's picture

 Lem'me get this straight? The same court that had un~tethered access to we/us serfs , is now the "judgmental arbitrary", of it's own wrong doings?

Ignatius's picture

I figured this one out and I'm not even a lawyer.

And I am not alone.

jamesmmu's picture
We Have Been Conned Into Thinking That This Is How Politics Works – Is it any better than Iran?

asteroids's picture

Who watches the watchers?

GunnerySgtHartman's picture

It won't be Congress, I can guarantee that.  Congress will not touch this.