A federal judge has resigned from the court that oversees government surveillance in intelligence cases, reportedly over concerns about the secret program authorized by President Bush that bypasses the court and allows spying on people believed to be communicating with terror suspects abroad.
United States District Judge James Robertson, one of 11 members of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, notified the chief justice of the United States, John Roberts, of his resignation on Monday, according to The Washington Post. It said Judge Robertson gave no reason.
Anger about the secret surveillance program helped fuel a Democratic-led effort currently blocking renewal of the USA Patriot Act. Democrats say some provisions infringe on civil liberties – by allowing access to library and business records, for example – and should be dropped. They seek a three-month extension of the act while those provisions are reworked.