Sunday, November 3, 2013

This Judge is a Surveillance Expert. He has Cred.

James G. Carr ’62, a senior judge on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio and a former member of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), described the process through which the federal government conducts electronic surveillance and railed against National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden in a talk in the Gund Gallery’s Community Foundation Theater...

Carr told his audience “every one of us in this room probably has been overheard under a FISA warrant... It’s a general search,” Carr said, “that which the Fourth Amendment most directly and most clearly, unequivocally prohibits. Nobody can dispute that.”...

In July, Carr wrote an op-ed in The New York Times calling for Congress to reform the court. He suggested judges be allowed to appoint outside lawyers to “represent the interests of the Constitution and the public” in cases where a novel issue, such as new surveillance technology, is present in the warrant application. Government agents are required to inform the court if their application raises that kind of issue...

Carr had harsh words for Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who provided documents about NSA surveillance procedures to journalists before fleeing to Hong Kong and then Russia. He asked audience members how many of them thought Snowden’s actions were worthwhile, and upon seeing hands raise, said, “I want to try and disabuse you of that view.”

Snowden, he said, had been “in the hands of the Chinese and the Russians for months, and if anybody in this room thinks for a moment that they don’t know everything he learned … c’mon now. 

The NSA, Carr said, “does a crucially important job,” whereas Snowden, whom he mockingly called “the great American patriot,” had done “irredeemable” damage.

In the Q & A after the talk, one student asked Carr, “Why bother protecting our lives if you don’t first protect our rights?” Carr responded, “Because if we have no lives, we have no rights.” (more)

Why is Carr the expert? 
Because he wrote the book. (more)