Dear Conservative,

What follows is NOT a conspiracy theory. This is pure fact.

Say what you want about Edward Snowden… Call him a traitor; call him a patriot… it doesn’t matter. The fact is that there is a wealth of information in the public sphere that simply cannot be taken back.

We have learned things about our government that we cannot unlearn. While ignorance may be bliss, we now must live in a world where we know the government is violating our civil rights on a daily basis. All that is left is for us to decide what we are going to do about it.

The Bill of Nights lists a number of protections that the government cannot infringe upon. One of those protections is enumerated in the Fourth Amendment: protection against unwarranted and unreasonable searches and seizures.

No one is saying that the government doesn’t have the authority to seize and search your property. But if that is the government’s goal, it needs to show evidence of a suspected crime and get a judge to sign off on the warrant.

This is how every criminal investigation goes… except for those investigations approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA).

While the name implies that the court is only dealing with foreign matters, we know now that the FISA court is routinely called upon to sign off on DOMESTIC warrantless wiretaps and other blatant violations of American civilians’ constitutional rights.

Again, this isn’t a conspiracy theory. Documents have been released to that corroborate these facts. While many in Washington are trying to drag Edward Snowden through the mud to discredit him, they have yet to address the fact that the American government is violating millions of citizens’ rights every day!

And the judges on these secret courts that are supposed to be protecting YOUR rights and interests are actually using the Obama administration’s domestic spy program to turn a profit!

Many of the cases that go before the FISA court are attempts to force telecom companies like Verizon to hand over customers’ metadata (information that details your phone usage). This metadata can tell the government where you were, who you called, and how long you spoke on the phone. And the government doesn’t go after one individual suspected of committing a crime. No, the government gathers EVERYONE’s phone data “just in case.”

This is such a blatant constitutional violation, that it sickens me. But what really sickens me is that most of the FISA court judges own significant amounts of stock in the very companies they are forcing to hand over the data!

Tell Congress to STOP the corruption on Obama’s secret surveillance courts!

Of all the telecom companies that the government goes after, Verizon is by far the most eager to cooperate with the government’s “requests.”

There have been reports that Verizon “fought” the federal government’s efforts to seize customers’ metadata. However, FISA hearings are what are known as ex parte, meaning Verizon isn't a party for the NSA requests. The government goes to the FISA court without any party representing the people’s interests and because no one is there to stand up for We the People, the government is allowed to walk all over our rights.

And as I said, this isn’t just limited to exceptional circumstances. Leaked documents show that the Government has seized the cellphone metadata of EVERY Verizon customer.

And the judges who gave the government permission to seize your phone data also happen to own stock in Verizon. Not only that, but the Government hands out millions of dollars to reward companies that participate in the data collection program!

This is a clear conflict of interest!

Judge James Zagel, a FISA court member since 2008, purchased Verizon stock after the data seizures began. This past June, it was Zagel who signed off on renewing the NSA’s metadata collection program!

Other FISA judges have also acquired more Verizon and Telecom stocks since the data seizures began. FISA Court Judge Susan Wright bought $15,000 in Verizon stock last October.

FISA Judges, like other judges, are required to recuse themselves whenever a conflict of interest comes up in a case. The fact that such a large number of FISA Judges own Verizon stock and refused to recuse themselves from the NSA’s data collection case is questionable at best and dastardly at worst.

Considering the fact that the NSA and Federal government often paid telecom companies with millions of dollars for swiftly handing over customers’ phone data, there is without a doubt a conflict of interest here.

A Judge cannot preside over a case that can bring monetary compensation to a company if the judge owns stock in said-company! To top it all off, these cases involve widespread constitutional and civil rights violations.

The fact that these judges would green light the violation of citizens’ fourth amendment rights while simultaneously benefitting from the ruling is shameful!

YOUR civil rights are being trampled on and the judges that are approving the Obama administration’s domestic spying programs are actually making money off of it!

Are you going to let these judges profit off of your lost rights? Or are you going to DEMAND that Congress stop these judges from profiting off Obama’s spy programs?

I choose the latter because I refuse to live in a world where judges make money by violating civilians’ rights.

I hope that you will raise your voice with me. Join me in forcing Congress to revise the FISA court to ensure that no judge can ever profit by violating your civil rights!

Tell Congress to STOP the corruption on Obama’s secret surveillance courts!


Joe Otto

Conservative Daily