Why Was Court's Secret Interpretation Of The PATRIOT Act Ever Secret In The First Place?
from the makes-no-sense dept
Here's the part I don't understand: why was this ever secret in the first place?
The FISC (and the NSA and its defenders) have continued to insist that the whole thing is completely reasonable and legal, and well within the confines of what's allowed by Section 215 (ignoring that the author of it claims he wrote it to prevent exactly this kind of data collection). If that's true, then why was it secret? If the FISC and the NSA and its defenders insist that the plain language of the law allowed exactly this kind of interpretation all along, why did they hide it and say it needed to be classified? Yes, there are some redacted bits in the declassified document, but that could have been done earlier.
Also, remember, this particular FISC ruling was written in July, well after the Snowden leaks had begun. You can kind of sense from the way it's written that the FISC was writing this not for its usual audience, but rather for the public that was going to read it soon enough. Even so, nothing in the reasoning that was declassified seems like it ever should have been classified in the first place, if those in the government (and the court) really believed that they were legit. The only reason I can see to have classified those decisions was because they knew that their interpretation of the law was suspect, and would likely lead to public outcry and potential legal challenges.