FISA court judges buying Verizon stock as they approve NSA surveillance

Traders work at the post where Verizon is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (Reuters/Brendan McDermid)

Traders work at the post where Verizon is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (Reuters/Brendan McDermid)

Judges who serve on the FISA court, approving the government’s collection of phone metadata, have bought Verizon stock in the last year. Although the justices have financial involvement in the company, it is not considered a conflict of interest.

Under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the National Security Agency and other members of the country’s intelligence community must request approval from a top-secret court (the FISA court) to be able to legally place an individual under electronic surveillance. They must show that there is probable cause that the targets “are or may be” aligned with a terrorist organization with the purpose of carrying out acts of terrorism against the United States. The authorizations to conduct surveillance must be renewed by FISA every 90 days.

Many of those requests involve Americans who use Verizon.

In January, Verizon Communications became the first American company of its kind to publish information about the number of requests for user data it received last year from federal investigators and law enforcement agencies.

Verizon’s so-called transparency report revealed that local, state, and federal law enforcement …read more

US and EU agree to impose new, harsher sanctions on Russia over Ukraine

President Barack Obama speaking in 2012 (AUSTEN HUFFORD/DAILY/Flickr)

By End the Lie

President Barack Obama speaking in 2012 (AUSTEN HUFFORD/DAILY/Flickr)

The United States and the European Union have agreed to put new economic sanctions in place against Russia in what some news outlets are calling a sharp escalation in targeted measures.

Read our latest: “Russia and Ukraine trade accusations of cross-border shelling, combat escalation” and “Iraqi Christians flee Mosul after ISIS Islamists demand conversion or protection tax

The sanctions are to be imposed over Russia’s failure to back down and their taking of a more direct role in the conflict in Ukraine, according to The New York Times.

Key sectors of the Russian economy will be targeted by the sanctions, the White House said on Monday when announcing the move.

The U.S. has accused Russia of not only ramping up their troop presence on the border with Ukraine, but also sending more heavy weaponry to pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

However, Russia has accused Ukraine of shelling Russian territory.

The new U.S. and European sanctions are most likely going to target the Russian energy, arms and financial sectors, according to the Associated Press.

In addition, the EU is also …read more