We Should Know At Least As Much As The Enemy Already Knows

One of the good things to come out of the Snowden affair is a public examination of the FISA Court.

The FISA Court needs some solar disinfectant. While i am all if favor of limiting terrorists legal rights, this appears to be beyond the pale.

Surprisingly, I am unconcerned that of the 34,000 or so cases before the FISA Court, that court only turned down 11. I am reminded of the observation by Alan Dershowitz, perhaps the biggest defense supporter in America and famous Harvard professor, that 99% of all Defendants are actually guilty.

No, those percentages of FISA Court are not what bothers me — it is that all 11 Federal Judges on the FISA Court are appointed by Chief Justice Roberts, and he alone.

Further, of the 11 FISA Justices, surprise, 10 are Republicans.

That appears to be highly political, on its face. Perhaps it is only a perception, but it is a justifiable perception.

Worse, ONLY the prosecution’s case is presented. No one presents a counter argument. In this case, it is much like a Grand Jury, where only the prosecution case is presented.  You can argue that neither a Grand Jury nor the FISA Court has the ability to convict – only indict (or in the case of FISA, to wiretap) – and both are just naming suspects.

I can understand that argument, I just think we should discuss it. I’ll admit I had no knowledge of the acts of the FISA Court.

The new asymmetrical warfare needs new rules, and we are feeling our way along. The people need just a bit more transparency.

It beats me how to construct a secret court like FISA, but these existing rules are strange rules that at least deserve a public hearing because the public never had a look-see at these rules.

The public deserves SOME knowledge of what’s going on. I believe that secrecy is a vital requirement, but I noticed when I was involved in Top Secret operations that much of what we did was perfectly obvious to the Soviets and the only people we were keeping the information from was the American public.

One of the more obvious examples was our submarine surveillance in foreign harbors — the Russians actually caught more than one of our subs, chased it and made it surface. The Russians KNEW, but we never admitted it to the American public.

Once the enemy KNEW something, and we knew they knew, other than the diplomatic niceties of being able to deny the obvious, only our people were in the dark.

The same can be said of the SR-71, Blackbird, which overflew Russia for DECADES. The Russians burned up many of their best fighters jets trying to get high enough, and fast enough to even get within missile distance, and always failed — but they knew the Blackbird was up there. (Way up there.) 

At least one of the Russia’s best pilots defected with one of their best fighter jets, Victor Belenko in his MIG 25 “Foxbat, ” landing in Japan and asking for asylum, because of his disgust with his equipment, He had been told that Soviet fighters were the best in the world, and he was a top fighter jockey, but he had tried, and tried  to get within a couple of European nations distance of the invincible Blackbird. He finally figured out he had been lied to by his government.

But the American public never heard a thing about the SR-71 until it was no longer useful. The Russians may not have known that planes’ name, but they knew it was there, how high it was and how fast it was. The “official” announced record was 2,193 MPH in sustained flight, and 85,000 feet altitude in sustained flight. One actually traveled from NYC  to London in one hour, 54 minutes.

There is a lot of fake shock going around. The intelligence agencies of virtually EVERY country knew almost everything about the NSA operation – only the US citizenry did not know.