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+[[!meta title="Puzzle Palace"]]
+* Author: James Bamford
+ For reasons of security, as well as the fact that the State De-
+ partment's portion of the budget could not by law be spent within
+ the District of Columbia, Yardley set up shop in New York City.
+ After first considering a building at 17 East 36 Street, he finally
+ settled on a stately four-story brownstone at 3 East 38 Street,
+ owned by an old friend.
+ --- page 13 (pdf) e 25 (book)
+ The key to the legislation could have been dreamed up by Franz Kafka: the
+ establishment of a supersecret federal court. Sealed away behind a
+ cipher-locked door in a windowless room on the top floor of the Justice
+ Department building, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court is most
+ certainly the strangest creation in the history of the federal Judiciary. Its
+ establishment was the product of compromises between legislators who wanted the
+ NSA and FBI, the only agencies affected by the FISA, to follow the standard
+ procedure of obtaining a court order re- quired in criminal investigations, and
+ legislators who felt the agencies should have no regulation whatsoever in their
+ foreign intelligence surveillances.
+ Almost unheard of outside the inner sanctum of the intelligence
+ establishment, the court is like no other. It sits in secret session, holds no
+ adversary hearings, and issues almost no public opinions or reports. It is
+ listed in neither the Government Organization Manual nor the United States
+ Court Directory and has even tried to keep its precise location a secret. "On
+ its face," said one legal authority familiar with the court, "it is an affront
+ to the traditional American concept of justice."
+ -- page 453
+ Then there is the last, and possibly most intriguing, part of the definition,
+ which stipulates that NSA has not "acquired" anything until the communication
+ has been processed "into an intelligible form intended for human inspection."
+ NSA is there- fore free to intercept all communications, domestic as well as
+ foreign, without ever coming under the law. Only when it selects the "contents"
+ of a particular communication for further "proc- essing" does the FISA take
+ -- page 458
+ Like most things in Britain, the practice of eavesdropping is
+ deeply rooted in tradition and probably dates back at least to
+ 1653. In that year Lord Thurloe created what was known as
+ "The Secret Office," which specialized in clandestinely opening
+ and copying international correspondence. That custom later
+ carried over to telegrams and finally the telephone shortly after
+ it was first introduced in England in 1879.
+ -- page 487