Grind for February 28th
“A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer.” – Robert Frost
Trump Administration plans to overhaul FISA
White House officials have begun discussing an overhaul of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), portions of which are set to expire next month.
FISA outlines the rules by which the FBI and other agencies can spy on domestic targets.
The planed overhaul, which aims to improve transparency, is related to concerns that intelligence officials used FISA to improperly spy on Carter Page and other members of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign team.
“We were abused by the FISA process; there’s no question about it,” said Trump this month. “We were seriously abused by FISA.”
Efforts to ease spying powers have drawn criticism from the National Security Council, which wants to expand surveillance abilities, and from Attorney General William Barr, who wants to see additional oversight from the Justice Department without changing any existing laws.
“We are committed to preserving FISA and we think all Americans should be committed to preserving FISA,” said Barr in December. “It is essential to protect the security of the United States.”
Administration officials insist the changes will not undermine the government’s main surveillance powers.
Under one proposal being discussed, all domestic targets surveilled in the name of national security would later be notified that they had been surveilled.
Coronavirus prevalent in South Korea, Italy, an Iran
Health officials in South Korea, Italy, and Iran are on high alert as COVID-19 continues to spread. The latest data puts the total number of cases at 78,996 and the death toll at 2,470.
South Korea raised its national threat level to “red alert” this week after confirming 602 cases – the most in any nation outside China. Officials have started to close public transportation and quarantine affected cities.
“Please avoid excessive anxiety, and trust the government’s actions,” said South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
The United States, which has confirmed just 35 cases, upped its travel advisory for South Korea to the second of four levels. Travel advisory for China remains at the highest level.
Officials in Italy closed the Venice Carnival two days early as the number of COVID-19 cases jumped from 3 to 152. Ten cities in Lombardy and one in Veneto are on lockdown, with all schools and public transportation closed until further notice.
In Milan, fashion designer Armani will live-stream its latest collection while presenting to an empty theater in order to support “national efforts in safeguarding public health.”
Iran, reporting 43 cases and 8 deaths, recently announced the closure of all schools and religious centers in 14 provinces. Sporting events will be held in empty stadiums because authorities have banned fans from attending.
Turkey and Pakistan have closed their borders with Iran.
GOOD TO THE LAST DROP:
Did you know… Amber beads, worn as a necklace, can protect against illness or cure colds.