The revelation that the National Security Agency was allowed to conduct non-FISA intercepts of American citizens should bring last summer's hearing on John Bolton's nomination to the United Nations back into focus. As Legal times noted in September of this year, "During the confirmation hearings of John Bolton as the U.S. representative to the United Nations, it came to light that the NSA had freely revealed intercepted conversations of U.S. citizens to Bolton while he served at the State Department. . . . More generally, Newsweek reports that from January 2004 to May 2005, the NSA supplied intercepts and names of 10,000 U.S. citizens to policy-makers at many departments, other U.S. intelligence services, and law enforcement agencies."
We still don't know who he was looking at and what information was contained in those intercepts. More importantly, were they legally obtained? In light of the latest revelation, we have another possible explanation why the Bush Administration fought so strenuously to keep those intercepts secret and out of the hearing. Snooping without judicial review is wrong and must be punished.
Well, actually, as I read the FISA laws, snooping on non-U.S. persons without judicial review is legal. But I'm thinking that non-U.S. persons weren't the only targets of the unwarranted NSA surveillance, and that Bolton was in on the illegal spying, just like he was a major player in cooking the intelligence on Iraq.