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5 Aug, 2013

Bill Blum: The Surveillance State Is as Strong as Ever – Truthdig

The harsh treatment of whistle-blowers will likely continue into the foreseeable future in pace with the needs and expansion of the surveillance state itself. In the aftermath of last month’s defeat of a proposed amendment to the Patriot Act that would have placed new limits on the National Security Agency’s ability to track phone records, there is little on the political horizon to halt the expansion.

Legally too the avenues for challenging the surveillance state are dwindling under the authority of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Established in 1978, the court is a unique judicial body, consisting of 11 U.S. District Court judges appointed to serve staggered seven-year terms by the chief justice of the Supreme Court without Senate confirmation. All of the surveillance court’s current members were appointed by Chief Justice John Roberts. Ten are Republicans; nearly all have had legal experience working in the executive branch of the federal government or as prosecutors.

Read the rest: Bill Blum: The Surveillance State Is as Strong as Ever – Truthdig.