FISA Court Secretly Renews NSA Telephone Surveillance

As Usual, Court Signs Off on Renewal Request

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence reports that the secret authorization for the NSA to collect data on Americans’ phone calls, which was set to expire today, has been renewed by the FISA court.

Of course, there’s no reason to expect the secretive FISA court to do anything less. In 2012 the FISA courts saw 1,856 “requests” to authorize government surveillance, and every single one was approved as a matter of course.

The one unusual aspect of the announcement is that it was made at all, as of course most FISA grants of new government surveillance powers remain secret. The DNI says public interest in the phone surveillance program sparked the announcement.

Which is putting it mildly. Many Americans are offended by the government collection of their private data, and the Obama Administration seeks to reaffirm the “legality” of doing so as a way to quiet the growing outrage over it.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of