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Governments Can Spy on Journalists in the U.S. Using Invasive Foreign Intelligence Process
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of The Intercept

The Intercept, September 17, 2018
Posted: September 30th, 2018

The U.S. government can monitor journalists under a foreign intelligence law that allows invasive spying and operates outside the traditional court system, according to newly released documents. Targeting members of the press under the law, known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, requires approval from the Justice Departments highest-ranking officials. Prior to the release of these documents, little was known about the use of FISA court orders against journalists. Previous attention had been focused on the use of National Security Letters against members of the press; the letters are administrative orders with which the FBI can obtain certain ... records without a judges oversight. FISA court orders can authorize much more invasive searches and collection, including the content of communications, and do so through hearings conducted in secret and outside the sort of ... judicial process that allows journalists and other targets of regular criminal warrants to eventually challenge their validity. The rules apply to media entities or journalists who are thought to be agents of a foreign government, or ... possess foreign intelligence information. Theres a lack of clarity on the circumstances when the government might consider a journalist an agent of a foreign power, said [Knight Institute staff attorney Ramya] Krishnan. Think about WikiLeaks; the government has said they are an intelligence operation.

Note: In its latest instruction manual for federal prosecutors, the US Justice Department removed a subsection titled Need for Free Press and Public Trial. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on judicial system corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.

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