from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2003, Issue No. 72
September 2, 2003


The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has never had a heavier workload nor played a more important role as arbiter of the scope of government surveillance than it does today.

But little information about the Court, which was established by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978, has been readily available in the public domain -- not even a complete list of its members.

The FISA Court is responsible for authorizing government applications for clandestine search and surveillance in counterintelligence and counterterrorism investigations. In 2002, the Court reviewed and approved 1228 such applications, an all-time high.

The Court plays a decisive role in defining the permissible boundaries of domestic surveillance. When the FBI denies that it uses the USA Patriot Act to indiscriminately monitor the reading habits of unsuspecting Americans, it points to the fact that by law any such surveillance must first be approved by the FISA Court.

But who are the current members of the FISA Court? It's not an official secret, but neither has it been published.

In particular, the identity of the newest member, the Hon. George P. Kazen of the Southern District of Texas, has apparently gone unreported up to now. The Department of Justice identified the current members of the Court in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from Secrecy News.

Judge Kazen, who was first named to the bench by President Carter in 1979, was quietly appointed to the FISA Court by Chief Justice Rehnquist in May of this year. At a time when government surveillance is increasingly targeted at Middle Eastern Arab men, it is perhaps noteworthy that Judge Kazen is the grandson of Lebanese immigrants.

The 2003 roster of the eleven member Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court is posted here:

A full profile of the Court today -- its members, their views of the USA Patriot Act and the war on terrorism, and their experience with the FISA process -- remains to be written.


"The wave of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) has been overcome, but SARS has not been eradicated....We remain vulnerable."

That is one conclusion of a new Intelligence Community Assessment which examines the evolution of SARS and the potential implications of the disease for the United States under various scenarios.

A copy of "SARS: Down But Still a Threat," by Karen Monaghan, published by the National Intelligence Council, August 2003, may be found here:


The Air Force proposal to lease one hundred Boeing KC-767 aircraft would be "an immense waste of taxpayer dollars," according to Sen. John McCain, a fierce critic of the idea. "This is a corporate bailout for Boeing of tremendous proportions," he said.

The Congressional Research Service has endeavored to produce a dispassionate review of the issues raised by the controversial proposal, which will be the subject of hearings this week.

See "The Air Force KC-767 Lease Proposal: Issues for Congress" by Christopher Bolkcom, Congressional Research Service, August 29:


"Weapons Proliferation and the Military-Industrial Complex of the People's Republic of China" is the topic of the latest issue of Commentary, a publication of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

Though derivative of other published sources, it offers a concise treatment of the subject and proposes answers to blunt questions such as "Why Does China Continue to Proliferate?" See:

The Defense Intelligence and Security Service (MIVD) of the Netherlands has recently published an English edition of its 2002 Annual Report.

The report offers a Dutch perspective on terrorism, conflict in the Middle East, and other topics of international interest. See (in MS Word format):

Like other civilized intelligence services, the MIVD provides a summary accounting of its annual expeditures.


Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

To SUBSCRIBE to Secrecy News, send an email message to [email protected] with "subscribe" (without quotes) in the body of the message.

To UNSUBSCRIBE, send a blank email message to [email protected].

OR email your request to [email protected]

Secrecy News is archived at: