Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Door to the FISA Court

"Where are we?" Oliver demanded.

"It's the Room of Requirement," Hermione said.

Hermione frowned in perplexity. "Mostly people stumble across it when they need it - I certainly didn't summon it ..."


Drawing by Lindsay Young.

Nobody will actually tell you where the door to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court — also known as the "FISA Court" — is. It's understood to have moved from the Department of Justice to the E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse in 2009, but when I visited Prettyman, the employees in the first floor District Clerk's office (gently) laughed at my attempts to find anything about the Court. They referred to it as the "Room of Requirement", and said they had no idea what floor it was even on.

But if you walk through each floor of the Courthouse, and if you believe the Washington Post's 2009 description of the FISA Court door as having "biometric hand scanners" and being in a "public hallway", then it becomes pretty obvious that on the 3rd floor's solemn hallway, you've found your door.


If the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court is supposed to be an actual Court, functioning in the service of the public and the Constitution as an independent overseer of the executive branch, where is its public face?

Where are its unclassified records? Why can't we talk to its Clerk?

And if nothing else: why won't it put its name on its door?

Read More

2012/Current FISA Judge list

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 - Room of Requirement scene

Harry, Ron, and Hermione continue their quest of finding and destroying the Dark Lord's three remaining Horcruxes, the magical items responsible for his immortality. But as the mystical Deathly Hallows are uncovered, and Voldemort finds out about their mission, the biggest battle begins and life as they know it will never be the same again.