Okay. Well, how about this Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that has to sign off on everything? The chief judge of the FISC court, Reggie B. Walton, says that he can only “rely upon the accuracy of the information that is provided to the Court.” So, if it sounds kosher, it probably is.
I once bought my daughter a Siamese kitten in rural Québec and drove her back to my home in New Hampshire. At the border post, the guard leaned in the window and said, “You better have some paperwork for that cat.” I handed over the official form from the Ordre des médecins vétérinaires du Québec. The officer stared at it for a few seconds, and then asked, “Do you understand French?”
“Yes,” I said.
“Does this seem on the level to you?”
“Yes,” I said. She waved us through.
That’s basically what FISA court “oversight” boils down to. And, insofar as they decide it isn’t on the level, it’s usually after the fact.
What does that leave? Congressional oversight? Senator Dianne Feinstein said that she had not seen the 2012 NSA audit on its 2,776 legal violations until the Washington Post asked her about it. Which means until Edward Snowden brought it to her attention. So she’s just another rubber stamp, too. Most nations that spy on their own citizens manage to make do with one fig leaf of accountability, but in money-no-object Washington there are fig leaves without end.
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that the IRS is continuing to target American citizens according to their political ideology — and that’s before they have your Obamacare records to frolic and gambol in.
But, like Obama says, it’s merely a theoretical “prospect” of abuse. You’d have to be paranoid to think it could actually happen . . .
— Mark Steyn, a National Review columnist, is the author of After America: Get Ready for Armageddon. © 2013 Mark Steyn