Secret FISA Courts

Last week I discussed Democrats seeking to expand warrantless wiretaping discussed in an article you can read HERE.  The oversight that is meant to make everything ok with the warrantless invasions by the government is that there will be review after the fact by secret FISA Courts.  So what exactly are the FISA courts and is their checking up enough to make warrantless invasions by the government ok?

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) is a secret court made up of seven judges (later expanded to eleven) that were founded in 1978.  Since then they have given the ok on over 7500 warrants for searches and wiretaps and has only rejected one single request.  These hearings were done in 100% privacy with no public records or public opinions.

Since it's inception the powers of FISA have been expanded.  The largest expansion being under President Clinton through executive order 12949  which gave the power to conduct physical searches without the need of a warrant issued through open court, without notifying the subject that they have been searched and without the need to provide a physical inventory of any items seized.  This in essence tosses the 5th Amendment right out the window!

 Later in 2005 Democrats feigned shock at Bush's use of warrantless searches and wiretaps and turned it into part of the 2006 election (ignoring of course that it was Clinton's executive order in 1998 that gave the government nearly the same power) and it paid off for them as they sweep elections across the country yet now they push to continue expanding the same power they claimed they objected to just a few short years ago.

I don't care what side of the political spectrum you are from, this is frightening and both Democrats and Republicans support it (some just a little more hypocritically then others).