[A] FISA court is no guarantee against surveillance abuse. To the contrary, it can invite questionable assertions of this extraordinary power [surveillance of U.S. Citizens] because no one is ever really on the hook …
Now ask yourself: Would Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (who signed one of the renewal applications) and others be so quick to put their names on something like this if they didn’t have a FISA judge to give them cover?
The argument is not new. Just before FISA became law, a Yale law professor wrote a prophetic article in these pages about the abuses to come. His name was Robert Bork, and among his worries were that judges would show undue deference to intelligence agencies, that congressional committees wouldn’t be able to summon judges to explain their warrant approvals, and, above all, that giving courts the last say would have “the effect of immunizing everyone, and sooner or later that fact will be taken advantage of.”
… Congress should consider getting rid of FISA courts altogether. Because without judges to hide behind, executive officials who order spying on their fellow citizens will have to own those decisions themselves.
William McGurn, Abolish the FISA Court.