News Release

Fourth Amendment analysis shortchanged in foreign intelligence court decision

FISA court decision follows Justice Department arguments 

Washington, DC (Novemeber 18, 2002) -- In response to today's ruling in favor of the Justice Department's proposed further expansion of use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, after the court had found multiple abuses by the Justice Department of the previous provisions of the act, Joshua Dratel, co-chair of the Amicus Curiae Committee of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, issued the following statement:

"Having found that the fox has eaten half the chickens, the court has decided that the fox should have more authority over the chicken coop.

"The court has abdicated its responsibility of meaningful Fourth Amendment analysis, and rolled back 25 years of precedent as to the proper boundaries between criminal investigation and foreign intelligence surveillance.

"We will continue to analyze the decision with an eye toward exploring all potential avenues for further review."

Dratel, a co-author of NACDL's brief, is a criminal defense lawyer in New York City. He can be reached at (212) 732-0707, or (917) 754-1696.

NACDL's brief and other materials related to the suit can be found at the NACDL Web site ( by clicking the News & Issues, and then the Fighting Terrorism/Protecting Liberty icon.

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The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.