A federal judge has resigned from the court that oversees government surveillance in intelligence cases in protest of President Bush’s secret authorization of a domestic spying program, according to two sources.
U.S. District Judge James Robertson, one of 11 members of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, sent a letter to Chief Justice John D. Roberts Jr. late Monday notifying him of his resignation without providing an explanation.
Two associates familiar with his decision said yesterday that Robertson privately expressed deep concern that the warrantless surveillance program authorized by the president in 2001 was legally questionable and may have tainted the FISA court’s work.
Robertson indicated privately to colleagues in recent conversations that he was concerned that information gained from warrantless NSA surveillance could have then been used to obtain FISA warrants. FISA court Presiding Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who had been briefed on the spying program by the administration, raised the same concern in 2004, and insisted that the Justice Department certify in writing that it was not occurring.
“They just don’t know if the product of wiretaps were used for FISA warrants — to kind of cleanse the information,” said one source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the classified nature of the FISA warrants. “What I’ve heard some of the judges say is they feel they’ve participated in a Potemkin court.”
Chuck Hagel and Olympia Snowe are both joining the call for hearings. I wish I could reach someone in Senator Roberts’s office for comment, though it sounds like he isn’t interested in hearings.
I don’t know if they just don’t care about blogs, or if they looked at TfK and decided they don’t like us.
I have seen more senate.gov traffic lately, but who knows why.
If anyone knows someone on Senator Roberts’s staff and would put in a good word for me, I’d appreciate it. While I’m opinionated and never afraid to speak my mind, I always treat subjects of interviews respectfully and honestly, and I let them speak their mind, and keep my opinions separate from theirs.