Secrecy News

Judge Mosman Named to Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court

Chief Justice John Roberts has appointed Judge Michael W. Mosman of the District of Oregon to serve as a judge on the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

The appointment was effective May 4, 2013, and will extend through May 3, 2020, said Mr. Sheldon Snook, a spokesman for the Court.

Judge Mosman replaces Judge Roger Vinson, whose term on the surveillance court expired on May 3, 2013.

Judge Mosman, who was appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush, is generally considered a conservative.  But last March he drew criticism from some on the political right after he granted bail to one Reaz Qadir Khan, who was charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. Judge Mosman ordered Khan’s release over the government’s objections after he determined that the defendant was not a flight risk or a danger to the community.

“Incredibly, the judge, Michael Mosman, a George W. Bush appointee, allowed Khan to walk free from the federal courthouse pending trial,” complained the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch in a March 11 posting.

The eleven-member Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court reviews applications from government agencies for electronic surveillance and physical search under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

In 2012, the Court approved 1,788 applications for electronic surveillance and denied none, as noted in a report to Congress last month.

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