Several members of the Senate Intelligence Committee wrote to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court this month to ask the Court to prepare summaries of classified opinions that represent significant interpretations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in order to facilitate their declassification and public release. Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that plaintiffs challenging the constitutionality of the FISA Amendments Act lacked the requisite legal standing to pursue their case, effectively foreclosing public oversight of intelligence surveillance through the courts. The Senate letter, the text of which was not released, stems from an amendment to the FISA Amendments Act that was introduced by Sen. Jeff Merkley in December to promote declassification of significant Surveillance Court opinons. The Merkley amendment was not adopted -- none of the legislative proposals to increase accountability were approved -- but Senate Intelligence Committee chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein promised to work with Sen. Merkley to advance the declassification of FISC opinions. "An open and democratic society such as ours should not be governed by secret laws, and judicial interpretations are as much a part of the law as the words that make up our statute," said Sen. Merkley at that time. "The opinions of the FISA Court are controlling. They do matter. When a law is kept secret, public debate, legislative intent, and finding the right balance between security and privacy all suffer." http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2012_cr/faa-amend.html "I wish to address, if I could, what Senator Merkley said in his comments," said Sen. Feinstein during the December 27 floor debate. "I listened carefully. What he is saying is opinions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court should, in some way, shape or form, be made public, just as opinions of the Supreme Court or any court are made available to the public. To a great extent, I find myself in agreement with that. They should be." "I have offered to Senator Merkley to write a letter requesting declassification of more FISA Court opinions," Sen. Feinstein continued. "[...] When possible, the opinions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court should be made available to the public in declassified form. It can be done, and I think it should be done more often. If the opinion cannot be made public, hopefully a summary of the opinion can. And I have agreed with Senator Merkley to work together on this issue." That letter, signed by Senators Feinstein, Merkley, Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, has now been sent to the FISA Court, where it awaits an official response. Though the letter itself is a modest step, the willingness of congressional overseers to assert themselves on behalf of public accountability takes on new importance in light of yesterday's Supreme Court decision (by a 5-4 vote) to block a constitutional challenge to the FISA Amendments Act. That decision all but closes the door to public oversight of the law's implementation through the courts. http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/11-1025_ihdj.pdf The Court majority insisted that judicial review of government surveillance activities is alive and well, contrary to the plaintiffs' assertion. It is "both legally and factually incorrect" to assert that surveillance is insulated from judicial review, stated the majority opinion written by Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., who cited the role of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in authorizing surveillance activities. But ACLU attorney Jameel Jaffer said that view "seems to be based on the theory that the FISA Court may one day, in some as-yet unimagined case, subject the law to constitutional review, but that day may never come. And if it does, the proceeding will take place in a court that meets in secret, doesn't ordinarily publish its decisions, and has limited authority to consider constitutional arguments. This theory is foreign to the Constitution and inconsistent with fundamental democratic values," Jaffer said. On Monday, Sen. Feinstein paid tribute to L. Christine Healey, a professional staff member of the Senate Intelligence Committee who is retiring this week. For three decades, Ms. Healey has played an influential role in intelligence oversight as a staffer on the House and Senate intelligence committees, as well as on the 9/11 Commission. "She has been as responsible as anyone for the passage of a string of four annual intelligence authorization bills, including the fiscal year 2013 act that was completed in December," said Sen. Feinstein. Ms. Healey was also credited by Sen. Feinstein as "the principal drafter of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008." http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2013_cr/healey.html A PROFILE OF THE 113TH CONGRESS, AND MORE FROM CRS "The average age of Members of the 113th Congress is among the highest of any Congress in recent U.S. history," according to a new report from the Congressional Research Service. The average age of Members of the House of Representatives is 57 years, while the average age of Senators is 62 years. "The overwhelming majority of Members of Congress have a college education," the CRS found. "The dominant professions of Members are public service/politics, business, and law. Most Members identify as Christians, and Protestants collectively constitute the majority religious affiliation. Roman Catholics account for the largest single religious denomination, and numerous other affiliations are represented." One hundred women (a record number) serve in the 113th Congress. There are 43 African American Members, and 38 Hispanic or Latino Members (a record number) serving. Thirteen Members are Asian American or Pacific Islanders. There is one Native American serving in the House. See Membership of the 113th Congress: A Profile, February 20, 2013: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42964.pdf Other noteworthy new and updated products of the Congressional Research Service that Congress has not made publicly available include the following. Congressional Authority to Limit Military Operations, February 19, 2013: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R41989.pdf Nuclear Weapons R&D Organizations in Nine Nations, February 22, 2013: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/nuke/R40439.pdf Bond v. United States: Validity and Construction of the Federal Chemical Weapons Statute, February 21, 2013: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/nuke/R42968.pdf Arms Control and Nonproliferation: A Catalog of Treaties and Agreements, February 20, 2013: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/nuke/RL33865.pdf Border Security: Understanding Threats at U.S. Borders, February 21, 2013: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/R42969.pdf NAFTA at 20: Overview and Trade Effects, February 21, 2013: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R42965.pdf Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress, February 22, 2013, with new material on the anticipated impact of sequestration: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/weapons/RL32665.pdf Azerbaijan: Recent Developments and U.S. Interests, February 22, 2013: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/97-522.pdf U.S.-Japan Economic Relations: Significance, Prospects, and Policy Options, February 20, 2013: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RL32649.pdf Egypt: Background and U.S. Relations, February 26, 2013: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RL33003.pdf _______________________________________________ Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists. The Secrecy News Blog is at: http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/ To SUBSCRIBE to Secrecy News, go to: http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/secrecy/subscribe.html To UNSUBSCRIBE, go to http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/secrecy/unsubscribe.html OR email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org Secrecy News is archived at: http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/secrecy/index.html Support the FAS Project on Government Secrecy with a donation: http://www.fas.org/member/donate_today.html _______________________ Steven Aftergood Project on Government Secrecy Federation of American Scientists web: www.fas.org/sgp/index.html email: email@example.com voice: (202) 454-4691 twitter: @saftergood
Monty Python! Police burglary Sketch
Whistleblowing on Whistleblowing Oversight
[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 38 (Tuesday, February 26, 2013)] [Notices] [Pages 13101-13102] From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov] [FR Doc No: 2013-04467] ======================================================================= ----------------------------------------------------------------------- PRIVACY AND CIVIL LIBERTIES OVERSIGHT BOARD [Notice-PCLOB-2013-01; Docket No. 2013-0004; Sequence No. 1] No FEAR Act Notice; Notice of Rights and Protections Available Under Federal Antidiscrimination and Whistleblower Protection Laws AGENCY: Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. ACTION: Notice. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- SUMMARY: In accordance with the requirements of the Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is providing notice to its employees, former employees, and applicants for Board employment about the rights and remedies available to them under the federal anti- discrimination, whistleblower protection, and retaliation laws. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Claire McKenna, Legal Counsel, at 202- 366-0365 or firstname.lastname@example.org. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On May 15, 2002, Congress enacted the Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002, Public Law 107-174, also known as the No FEAR Act. The Act requires that federal agencies provide notice to their employees, former employees, and applicants for employment to inform them of the rights and protections available under federal anti-discrimination, whistleblower protection, and retaliation laws. Anti-Discrimination Laws A federal agency cannot discriminate against an employee or applicant with respect to the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, marital status, or political affiliation. Discrimination on these bases is prohibited by one or more of the following statutes: 5 U.S.C. 2302(b)(1), 29 U.S.C. 206(d), 29 U.S.C. 631, 29 U.S.C. 633a, 2 U.S.C. 791, and 42 U.S.C. 2000e-16. If you believe that you have been the victim of unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or disability, you must contact an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) counselor within 45 calendar days of the alleged discriminatory action, or, in the case of personnel action, within 45 calendar days of the effective date of the action, before you can file a formal complaint of discrimination with your agency. This timeline may be extended by the Board under the circumstances described in 29 CFR 1614.105(a)(2). If you believe that you have been the victim of unlawful discrimination on the basis of age, you must either contact an EEO counselor as noted above or give notice of intent to sue to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 180 calendar days of the alleged discriminatory action. If you are alleging discrimination based on marital status or political affiliation, you may file a written complaint with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) (see contact information below). In the alternative (or in some cases, in addition), you may pursue a discrimination complaint by filing a grievance through the Board's administrative or negotiated grievance procedures, if such procedures apply and are available. Whistleblower Protection Laws A federal employee with authority to take, direct others to take, recommend, or approve any personnel action must not use that authority to take or fail to take, or threaten to take or fail to take, a personnel action against an employee or applicant because of disclosure of information by that individual that is reasonably believed to evidence violations of law, rule, or regulation; gross mismanagement; gross waste of funds; an abuse of authority; or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety, unless disclosures of such information is specifically prohibited by law and such information is specifically required by executive order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or the conduct of foreign affairs. Retaliation against an employee or applicant for making a protected disclosure is prohibited by 5 U.S.C. 2302(b)(8). If you believe that you have been the victim of whistleblower retaliation, you may file a written complaint (Form OSC-11) with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel at 1730 M Street NW., Suite 218, Washington, DC 20036-4505 or online through the OSC Web site, http://www.osc.gov. Retaliation for Engaging in Protected Activity A federal agency cannot retaliate against an employee or applicant because that individual exercises his or her rights under any of the federal antidiscrimination or whistleblower protection laws listed above. If you believe that you are the victim or retaliation for engaging in protected activity, you must follow, as appropriate, the procedures described in the Antidiscrimination Laws and Whistleblower Protection Laws section or, if applicable, the administrative or negotiated grievance procedures in order to pursue any legal remedy. Disciplinary Actions Under existing laws, each agency retains the right, where appropriate, to discipline a federal employee for conduct that is inconsistent with the Federal Antidiscrimination and Whistleblower Protection Laws up to and including removal. If OSC has initiated an investigation under 5 U.S.C. 1214, however, agencies must seek approval from OSC to discipline employees for, among other activities, engaging in prohibited retaliation, 5 U.S.C. 1214(f). Nothing in the No FEAR Act alters existing laws or permits an agency to take unfounded disciplinary action against a federal employee or to [[Page 13102]] violate the procedural rights of a federal employee who has been accused of discrimination. Additional Information For further information regarding the No FEAR Act regulations, refer to 5 CFR 724, as well as the appropriate Board offices. Additional information regarding federal antidiscrimination laws can be found at the EEOC Web site, http://www.eeoc.gov, and the OSC Web site, http://www.osc.gov. Existing Rights Unchanged Pursuant to section 205 of the No FEAR Act, neither the No FEAR Act nor this notice creates, expands, or reduces any rights otherwise available to any employee, former employee, or applicant under the laws of the United States, including the provisions of law specified in 5 U.S.C. 2302(d). Dated: February 21, 2013. Claire McKenna, Legal Counsel, Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. [FR Doc. 2013-04467 Filed 2-25-13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
Bitter party of one? Elisabetta Canalis did NOT want her ex-lover George Clooney to take home Oscar gold last night … telling out photog she was rooting for another man … Quentin Tarantino.
NATO Legal Deskbook Second Edition
- 348 pages
NATO leads efforts to bring stability in its ongoing missions in the Balkans, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
Legal Advisers serve as key members of a Commander‘s staff in the complex legal and political environment that NATO operates. The challenges NATO Commanders and legal adviser face to fulfil mandates, accomplish missions, and support the rule of law in embryonic and fragile democratic governments requires discussion, understanding and the documentation of practical solutions.
The NATO Legal Deskbook is published by the Office of the Legal Adviser, Allied Command Transformation Staff Element Europe (Mons) with the active support and help of the Office of the Legal Adviser, Headquarters Allied Commander Transformation (HQ SACT, Norfolk, USA) and the Office of the Legal Adviser, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE, Mons, Belgium), as well as many legal advisers in NATO and in the Member States or in other official or academic positions outside NATO.
Why a NATO Legal Deskbook?
Two re-occurring themes surface in after-action reports from exercises and operations. The first is that NATO Commanders and staffs naturally and increasingly turn to the Legal Advisers to help plan, execute, coordinate, evaluate, and support the assigned mission. The second is that no single doctrinal resource exists in NATO to assist legal practitioners in the fulfilling of this task. Although several Alliance members have produced such guides, before the NATO Legal Deskbook none existed for Legal Advisers and legal personnel assigned to NATO commands.
Whether doctrinally ready or not, the Alliance calls upon NATO Legal Advisers and staffs to advise and, often, help direct the execution of the legal component of a mission or mandate. NATO owes these attorneys, paralegals, and legal personnel, who work under often austere and demanding conditions, practical guidance in the form of a comprehensive resource that provides an overview and insight on the legal regime that forms NATO practice. Fulfilling this need is the genesis, purpose and rational for this practitioner‘s guide.
What this Deskbook is not:
This Deskbook is not NATO policy or military doctrine for legal support to operations.
The Deskbook intends to reflect as closely as possible the policies and practice of NATO in legal matters, however, the Deskbook is not a formally approved NATO document and therefore shall not be deemed as reflection of the official opinion or position of NATO.
The practitioner‘s guide is not intended to offer guidance or advice to other military professionals involved in operations. It was written by Legal Advisers for Legal Advisers and legal staff. Its scope and purpose is limited to providing the military legal subject matter experts assistance in the accomplishment of the mission. While others may find the guide helpful, they should understand it is not a tutorial. Fundamental legal principles, standard practices of interpretation, and basic legal practices are assumed as matters already known by its intended audience: the Legal Adviser, legal assistant, or paralegal.
This practitioner‘s guide does not offer an all-inclusive formula on how to advise a NATO commander on any particular aspect of the law, nor is it intended to supplant national guidance. Instead, the guide pre-supposes that Legal Advisers will continue to find themselves providing legal support to operations and missions in a variety of different circumstances, environments, and locations. The guide and its contents must therefore be flexible and geographically universal in application.
Monty Python and the knights of the Holy Grail – Full MOVIE