Instead, those statutes and laws apply only to the civilian FBI.
Those who do not understand that the NSA is a military outfit, and that the FBI is a civilian outfit, may not comprehend the import of this observation --at first.
More of that later, but first let's set the stage for analyzing this astute observation of the blogger emptywheel, by first noticing and discussing the purpose for keeping the military separate from the civilian authorities, in terms of setting both domestic and foreign policy.
And more importantly, keeping the military in subjection to the civilian authorities, an issue that even the emptywheel blogger didn't address.
The emptywheel blogger quotes the FISA statutory language in Section 215:
[T]he Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation or a designee of the Director (whose rank shall be no lower than Assistant Special Agent in Charge) may make an application for an order requiring the production of any tangible things ...(Empty Wheel, "Wrong Agency ...", cf. The Tell). The argument which emptywheel then makes is that the text of the statute allows only one agency of the federal government to make applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).
Further, that one authorized agency is the civilian FBI, not the military NSA.
Now, why that is important to the point of "what if there was a coup and no one noticed" is the overarching issue in this "A Tale of Coup Cities" Dredd Blog series.
Here at Dredd Blog, as regular readers know, we have isolated and then pointed out writings and declarations by our greatest statesmen who have for hundreds of years warned us about the grave dangers of overindulgence in military thinking.
When that thinking reaches the point of mixing civilian policy with military power and doctrine, the once-free nations that do it tend to cease to exist as free nations (see e.g. The Greatest Source Of Power Toxins?, Beware of The Military Oil Complex).
In the current series, we have pointed out that a coup has taken place over time to the point that our greatest power is no longer civilian democracy bringing common prosperity to the middle class, poor, and wealthy alike.
Rather, we are degenerating into a feudal society guided by a plutocracy of the few (American Feudalism, The Homeland: Big Brother Plutonomy).
Three other Dredd Blog series that coincide with this series, and which you should read to complement this post and this series, are Will The Military Become The Police, A Decline Of The American Republic, and Stockholm Syndrome on Steroids?
First, let's emphasize that the NSA is a military outfit:
In accordance with Department of Defense Directive 5100.20, dated December 23, 1971, the Director of the NSA must always be a commissioned officer of the military services. Because the assignment is currently part of a tri-hatted position, the Director of the NSA is appointed to the grade of a four-star general or admiral during the period of his incumbency. The Deputy Director is always a technically experienced civilian.(On The Origin of Security - 2, quoting "DoDD 5100.20"). The military Department of Defense, the military Pentagon, where the military NSA is located and commanded, is not directed by, commanded by, or overseen by the civilian FBI.
The current director is General Keith B. Alexander, USA.
A. Subject to the provisions of NSCID No. 6, and the National Security Act of 1947, as amended, and pursuant to the authorities vested in the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Agency is a separately organized agency within the Department of Defense under the direction, supervision, funding, maintenance and operation of the Secretary of Defense.
F. The Director and Deputy Director of the National Security Agency shall be designated by the Secretary of Defense, subject to the approval of the President. The Director shall be a commissioned officer of the military Services, on active or reactivated status, and shall enjoy not less than three star rank during the period of his incumbency.
G. The Director, National Security Agency/ Chief, Central Security Service shall report to the Secretary of Defense.
Thus, the military NSA has no authority to ask the FISC for permission to spy on all Americans, or any Americans, under Section 215 of the FISA laws quoted near the top of this post.
Only the civilian FBI is given that statutory authority.
Now, let's discuss why a coup is more often than not a result of mixing military ideology with our civilian constitutional democracy in a manner that skews balance:
Military influence increases when officers assume positions of authority in non-military organizations. Finally, the influence of the officer corps obviously increases when the public possesses a favorable opinion of the military.(Civilian-Military Relations, p. 35, PDF). Dredd Blog has pointed out that the public possess the most favorable opinion of the military, over any other American institution:
In the first post of this series, we pointed out that most Americans polled in an annual Gallup Poll think that the military is the most competent institution in America.(Stockholm Syndrome on Steroids? - 2). The second prong of that formula, military officers assuming positions in civilian organizations, for example the appointment of active military officers over the CIA (e.g. Gen. Hayden).
In that post we perused Gallup Poll figures from 2009, as shown on the graphic to the left (red lines added).
Today in 2011, the military is still seen as the most competent American institution, according to this year's Gallup Poll, even though the wars they are prosecuting are not at all popular.
Let's take a look for reasons and realities as to how it is that the military, once considered the lackey for the tyranny of the tyrants, has come full circle to invade and occupy the hearts of a once freedom loving people.
There is also the revolving door between the military Pentagon and war profiteering corporations such as General Electric, Lockheed, Boeing, and on and on.
Today, we considered one military science article "Civilian-Military Relations" which is quoted from and linked to above.
In the next post of this series we will look at traditional military-civilian relationships as depicted in historical books such as "The Soldier and the State", by Samuel P. Huntington, depicted in the graphic at the top-left of this post.
That will be done in order to compare "then" with "now" so as to see if and/or how things have changed, a technique discussed in A Tale of Coup Cities - 4.
The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.
The following video features Gen. Wesley Clark, former commander of NATO, who says that a policy coup has taken place in the U.S.