Ask a FISA Court Judge!


The FISA Court was established by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to oversee top-secret surveillance programs. Its opinions are classified, although the Office of the Director of National Intelligence recently released a rare, heavily redacted 2011 ruling striking down an NSA program that collected email data from American citizens and foreign nationals.

It also offers relationship advice.

Dear FISA Court Judge,

A coworker gave me and my husband a $25 certificate to the Cheesecake Factory as a wedding gift. It cost us $400 to feed her and her guest at our reception. Should I send it back and tell her she’s rude and cheap? Help, FISA Court Judge! —Dismayed in Des Moines.

FISA Court Judge says:

Dear Dismayed,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             !!

Dear FISA Court Judge,

My husband and I have been married for 20 years but recently we hit a bit of a rough patch. I had an affair with my boss, and my husband missed the birth of our daughter to deliver a $3 million shipment of methamphetamine to a guy he knows from Chile. Also he’s dying of cancer. What should I do, FISA Court Judge? —Nervous in New Mexico.

FISA Court Judge says:

Dear Nervous,

I                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 literally                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            .

Dear FISA Court Judge,

Is there such thing as insanity among penguins? I try to avoid a definition of insanity or derangement—I don’t mean he or she is Lenin or Napoleon Bonaparte—but could they just go crazy because they’ve had enough of their colony? You’re my only hope, FISA Court Judge! –Musing in Munich.

FISA Court Judge says:

Dear Musing,

                                                                                                                                                                      puffins                                                                                                                       ;                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   I hope that answers your question!

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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