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Published: Thursday, February 01, 2018 @ 10:24 AM
Updated: Thursday, February 01, 2018 @ 10:24 AM
— Here’s a look at the FISA Court and FISA warrants.
What is the FISA Court?
A warrant to wiretap someone suspected of spying with or for a foreign government is issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court -- or FISA Court. The court is actually a tribunal whose actions are carried out in secret. The tribunal has the authority to grant warrants for electronic surveillance. The court has 11 members, all federal judges. The judges serve seven-year terms. The chief justice of the U.S. Supreme court selects the judges.
When was this court established?
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 created the court and set up the rules for wiretapping of suspected spies.
What is its mission?
The court was set up to either approve or deny warrants requested by the United States government for surveillance of foreign spies inside of the United States. That warrant requests and the intelligence gathering is generally done by federal law enforcement agencies or U.S. intelligence agencies. The authorization allows for wiretapping a "foreign power or an agent of a foreign power" (which could include American citizens) suspected to be engaged in espionage or terrorism. Methods used in an investigation include electronic surveillance, physical searches and other actions. Generally, the attorney general signs the warrant requests.
How does it work?
When an agency requests a warrant from the FISA Court, the request falls to one of the 11 judges who sit on the court. It is up to that judge to either deny or approve the request for a surveillance warrant. If the request is denied, there is an avenue for appeal of the ruling, but that has happened only a handful of times in the history of the court.
Is there any other way to get surveillance warrant?
An alternate way a warrant for surveillance can be obtained is if the U.S. attorney general declares an emergency and authorizes the employment of the surveillance. The attorney general must notify a judge on the FISA Court, and must, within seven days, apply for a warrant for the action.
What rules must they follow?
While the proceedings are secret, there are rules that have to be followed. The statute that created FISA Courts bars targeted electronic surveillance in the United States unless there is evidence that a foreign power or agent of a foreign power is involved. Also, there has to be evidence that the facility -- an email address or phone number, for instance -- is being used by the foreign power or agent. In addition, the government must show that the information to be collected is "relevant" to any investigation of foreign espionage or terrorism.
The warrants are generally issued for up to 12 months, and they authorize the government to collect “bulk information.” That means that while Americans on U.S. soil who are not agents of a foreign government are not targeted, information collected could include communication between U.S. citizens.
Can public see these warrants, they can see others?
The court’s dealings are secret, the hearings closed to the public. Records are made and kept, but those records are generally not made available to the public.
How many have been turned down?
Published: Friday, February 16, 2018 @ 8:27 PM
— Once again, first lady Melania Trump gave off the impression that all is not well in her marriage to President Donald Trump when she broke presidential protocol on Friday following a report alleging the president had an affair with former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal.
As the Trumps headed to Florida to meet with the victims of this week’s mass shooting at a high school, they began the journey separately. While it’s tradition for the couple to cross the White House lawn to Marine One together, Mrs. Trump decided to forgo the usual walk and instead drove separately to Andrews Air Force Base. She arrived in a separate vehicle ahead of the president and ascended the stairs to Air Force One without him.
First lady Melania Trump skipped the traditional South Lawn couple's walk to Marine One for travel to Florida, opting instead to drive separately ahead of President Donald Trump https://t.co/dSuz7mo4fG pic.twitter.com/5zj1bCPXYy— CNN (@CNN) February 16, 2018
“With her schedule, it was easier to meet him on the plane,” Stephanie Grisham, the first lady’s communications director, explained the situation, adding that she does intend to join her husband in visiting the victims.
The suspicious choice comes just hours after The New Yorker published a report based on an account from McDougal, who provided details about her alleged affair with President Trump between June 2006 to April 2007. At the time, the Trumps had been married for two years, and their son, Barron, had been born a few months earlier.
The White House responded to the allegations in a statement saying, “This is an old story that is just more fake news. The President says he never had a relationship with McDougal.”
Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 9:53 AM
WICHITA, Kan. — Police, along with the FBI, are searching for a missing 5-year-old boy in Kansas.
Lucas Hernandez was reported missing Saturday evening. He was last seen at 3 p.m. in his bedroom by his stepmother, after she took a shower and fell asleep, KAKE reported.
Police were called more than 3 hours later, at 6:15 p.m., to alert them he was missing.
As of Sunday, an Amber Alert was not issued because there was no indication that he was abducted, KAKE reported.
A relative of Lucas told KSN, “He’s a bright little boy. He loves school. He loves his dad, his stepmom and his siblings. We just want him home safe, and if you have any information, anything about Lucas, please bring him home safely.”
But a great aunt of Lucas’ said they were worried about him, The Wichita Eagle reported.
Sally Rasmussen told the paper that she called the Kansas Department for Children and Families last year. His great grandmother, Jeannie Houchin, said that she was told that there was an investigation launched by the child protection agency, but the department didn’t confirm the women’s allegations The Eagle reported.
Police searched Lucas’ home and neighborhood using K-9 units, but didn’t find anything. They also went door-to-door asking neighbors if they noticed anything, The Eagle reported.
Published: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 3:43 AM
Updated: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 3:43 AM
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A survivor of Wednesday's deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, slammed President Donald Trump, lawmakers and the National Rifle Association in a scathing speech Saturday at an anti-gun rally in Fort Lauderdale.
"Every single person up here today, all these people should be home grieving," said Emma Gonzalez, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. "But instead, we are up here standing together because if all our government and president can do is send thoughts and prayers, then it's time for victims to be the change that we need to see. Since the time of the founding fathers and since they added the Second Amendment to the Constitution, our guns have developed at a rate that leaves me dizzy. The guns have changed, but our laws have not."
Gonzalez called out one of Trump's tweets following the shooting that left 17 people dead.
So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2018
"So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!" Trump wrote Thursday morning.
Gonzalez said Saturday: "We did, time and time again. Since he was in middle school, it was no surprise to anyone who knew him to hear that he was the shooter. Those talking about how we should have not ostracized him, you didn't know this kid, OK? We did. We know that they are claiming mental health issues, and I am not a psychologist, but we need to pay attention to the fact that this was not just a mental health issue. He would not have harmed that many students with a knife."
She added: "If the president wants to come up to me and tell me to my face that it was a terrible tragedy and how it should never have happened and maintain telling us how nothing is going to be done about it, I'm going to happily ask him how much money he received from the National Rifle Association."
She went on to criticize him and other lawmakers.
"To every politician who is taking donations from the NRA, shame on you!" she said, prompting the crowd to chant, "Shame on you" in response.
Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 5:52 AM
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — An 11-year-old Orange County, Florida, girl was found Sunday afternoon at a Georgia hotel room with a 24-year-old Illinois man who had abducted her, Georgia's Bibb County Sheriff’s Office said.
PLEASE RETWEET!— FDLE (@fdlepio) February 18, 2018
FLORIDA MISSING CHILD ALERT issued for Alice Johnson, W/F, 11yo, 5'5", 140lbs, blue eyes, last seen 9000 block of Eastport Terrace, Orlando. Short blue & brown hair, blue & white striped backpack. Have info? Contact Orange County SO at 407-836-4357 OR 911. pic.twitter.com/EDK2jFkc7n
UPDATE: The MISSING CHILD Alert for Alice Johnson has been resolved. The child has been found safe. Thank you for sharing!— FDLE (@fdlepio) February 18, 2018
Alice Amelia Johnson was reported missing at about 9 a.m. Sunday from a subdivision near University Boulevard and North Econlockhatchee Trail in Orange County, deputies said.
Investigators said they tracked Alice's cellphone while she was traveling with John Peter Byrns, of Hoffman Estates, Illinois.
At about 2 p.m. Sunday, Orange County deputies contacted Bibb County deputies, who were contacted by a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent two hours later, officials said.
Byrns and Alice were found shortly before 6 p.m. in a room at a Holiday Inn Express and Suites near Macon, deputies said.
Investigators said charges are pending against Byrns, who is being held at the Bibb County Law Enforcement Center.