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Clapper v. Amnesty International (The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance and Government Secrets)

November 4th, 2012

In the case of Clapper v. Amnesty International, FISA is using a method of ruling through a Foreign Intelligence Security Court, which has been deemed a “secret court.”  This has led to much controversy due to the uncertainty of whether or not processes and rulings are being carried out in a constitutional and conventional manner.  Although this may be a legitimate concern, it is not realistic nor intelligent to force the court to release this classified information.  The majority of these hearings deal with public safety and the national security.  By allowing the public access to this material, it will be internationally-known information.  There is no reason why the public must know this information.  More harm than good will ever come from allowing these processes to be public knowledge.
There are a multitude of different agencies present in the United States today that are allowed to deem information as “classified.”  There is a reason behind this.  When the national security is at stake, the necessity of knowing information is diminished and more governmental secrecy is practiced.  This should not be surprising, given the circumstances.  Additionally, the Plaintiffs are arguing that the United States government violated their constitutional rights.  However, the Plaintiffs are neither United States citizens nor on a territory that is in “complete and official United States jurisdiction” and because of this, are not guaranteed the same rights as citizens of the country.  The Suspension Clause also states that the government reserves the power to suspend rights during times of war or rebellion.  The United States has been in a war on terror for the past 11 years, and therefore, has the right to keep certain information classified and out of the reach of the public.