Saturday, June 8, 2013

Koch Brothers Connection to Judge at Center of NSA Spying Controversy

US District Judge Roger Vinson, who signed the order requiring Verizon to give the National Security Agency telephone records for tens of millions of American customers, attended an expenses-paid judicial seminar sponsored by the Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment  that featured lectures from a vocal proponent of executive branch powers, according to Mother Jones.

FREE has received $430,000 from Koch foundations  between 2005-2011. Total Koch foundation grants to FREE rom 1997-2011 were $1,525,000. Many other corporate entities have donated to FREE as well, including ExxonMobil, Merck, General Motors and General Electric.

MJ reports that it's unclear which lectures Vinson attended during the "Terrorism, Civil Liberty, & National Security" seminar that FREE put on.

But Eric Posner, a University of Chicago law professor who delivered two lectures, argued in a 2007 book he co-wrote — Terror in the Balance: Security, Liberty, and the Courts—that "the executive branch, not Congress or the judicial branch, should make the tradeoff between security and liberty."

The book also asserts that while "no one doubts that injustices occur during emergencies, the type of judicial scrutiny that would be needed to prevent the injustices that have occurred during American history would cause more harm than good by interfering with justified executive actions."

The seminar, conducted in Montana, also included separate lectures entitled "Terrorism & the US Constitution," "Decision-Making in Counter Terrorism Dilemmas" and "The Triumph & Pitfalls of the Security State."

In April, Vinson approved the government agency's "top secret" request ordering Verizon on an "ongoing daily basis" to give the NSA telephone records for all its customers' phone calls "between the United States and abroad," as well as those made within the United States.

This raises many questions. Did what the judge heard at this seminar help him decide to approve the massive USG demand for Verizon phone records? Why are the Koch brothers donating to such organizations instead of consistent free market organizations like the Mises Institute?

No comments:

Post a Comment