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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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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