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Posts by Carrie Cordero

Carrie Cordero provides legal and advisory services focusing on national security and homeland security law. She also holds an appointment as the Director of National Security Studies and an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center. Ms. Cordero served in national security related positions with the Department of Justice, most recently as Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for National Security, in 2009. Prior positions include Senior Associate General Counsel at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence; Attorney Advisor at the Department of Justice, where she practiced before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court; and Special Assistant United States Attorney in the Northern District of Texas. She earned her B.A., magna cum laude, from Barnard College, Columbia University, and J.D., cum laude, from Washington College of Law, American University. Full bio »

Expanding on the International vs. U.S. Surveillance Law Comparisons

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 10:00 AM

Following my post from last week  regarding how the debate over the Snowden disclosures has blurred the distinctions between national security surveillance authorities and consumer privacy law, Tim Edgar pointed out yesterday  that U.S. law is probably one of the most, if not the most, protective legal structures concerning government access to data for national . . .
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The President’s Comments on European Privacy Claims and A Look Back at the LIBE Committee Report on Government Surveillance

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Thursday, February 19, 2015 at 4:30 PM

President Obama made a refreshing observation during an interview with Re/Code at the White House Summit on Cyber Security and Consumer Protection in Silicon Valley last week. Following an exchange regarding the need for greater privacy for students using the Internet for educational purposes, the discussion turned to European scrutiny of U.S.-based technology companies, and . . .
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Second Take on Government’s Surveillance Reform Update Report: What’s New in Transparency

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Friday, February 6, 2015 at 9:18 AM

Earlier this week I provided observations on new data retention and data query restrictions as outlined in the Government’s Signals Intelligence Reform 2015 Anniversary Report. Today’s post focuses on the section of Tuesday’s report entitled, “Enhancing Transparency.” This section largely summarizes and outlines the types of information that the Intelligence Community released over the last . . .
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First Take on Government’s Surveillance Reform Update Report

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015 at 3:12 PM

As Wells noted yesterday the Administration released its report on the implementation of Presidential Policy Directive (PPD)-28. I am still reading through the documents, which include twelve new agency-specific procedures that implement Section 4 of PPD-28, as well as additional restrictions on the counterterrorism telephone metadata program. For now, this post provides observations on two items contained . . .
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The State of the Union on Counterterrorism: Does The Rhetoric Match the Policies?

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015 at 4:28 PM

On counterterrorism, the President’s speech was a study in mismatches—as was apparent last night in at least two respects. First: The address began with an odd intermix of statements related, on one hand, to the economy, and on the other hand, to post-9/11 military engagement and the subsequent end of the wars in Afghanistan and . . .
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Why Are Commentators So Quick to Call Paris a Lone Wolf Attack?

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Thursday, January 15, 2015 at 5:30 PM

Although new facts are emerging each day, and we can anticipate that the facts will continue to develop, I have been surprised by recent commentary (this for example), suggesting that the Paris attacks are indicative of the “lone wolf” phenomenon. In my view, it is too soon to tell whether the attacks were directed, controlled, sponsored . . .
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Weighing in on the Encryption and “Going Dark” Debate

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Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Yesterday I took part in a panel discussion entitled “Device Encryption: Too Much Privacy for Consumers?” hosted by the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) and the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP). The discussion focused on the reinvigorated “going dark” debate, in light of recent steps by Apple and Google (and presumably, others to come) . . .
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Toward a Different Kind of Transparency

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at 3:15 PM

Over the last year and a half, the intelligence community has released a significant amount of previously classified material in an effort to be more transparent regarding matters pertaining to foreign intelligence surveillance activities, generally, and the use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in particular. “Significant” is an understatement; the releases represent a . . .
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On “Going Dark”

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Saturday, July 26, 2014 at 4:00 PM

Today’s Washington Post piece by Ellen Nakashima speaks of “going dark”—or the “growing gap between the government’s legal authority and its practical ability to capture communications.”  The article highlights what is, in my assessment, the most significant long-term consequence of the Snowden disclosures: the increasingly adversarial relationship between the government and the private sector. What follows is . . .
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The Vodafone Transparency Report

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Friday, June 6, 2014 at 7:07 PM

I’m sure that I and others will have more to say about this in the future, but in the meantime, here is the summary and 88-page Vodafone transparency report  that has been widely reported this morning. As I mentioned in my remarks in the debate Ben hosted at Brookings yesterday, the U.S. technology and communications industry . . .
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Focusing on Law Facilitating Technological Innovation

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Monday, May 5, 2014 at 4:02 PM

As has been reported widely, the White House Big Data review was released last week. Paul provided initial analysis. While the report does not seem to counsel dramatic action, several of the recommendations suggest that there will be increased consideration of regulating the U.S. technology industry than there has been, at least, to date. Relatedly, . . .
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An Update on the Status of FISA Transparency Reporting

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014 at 1:21 PM

What follows is a quick recap on the status of FISA transparency reporting (most of this was news in late January but is summarized here with some useful links) along with a couple of observations on what may lay ahead. Up until the unauthorized disclosures regarding surveillance activities, communications providers on the receiving end of requests . . .
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Exploring the Effect of NSA Disclosures on the U.S. Technology Industry

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Saturday, April 12, 2014 at 4:00 PM

This past Monday, I had the honor of moderating a panel organized by students at the American University Washington College of Law’s National Security Law Brief, on Understanding the Global Implications of the NSA Disclosures on the U.S. Technology Industry. The panel (Elizabeth Banker (ZwillGen), David Fagan (Covington), Joseph Moreno (Cadwalader), Gerard Stegmaier (Wilson Sonsoni) and Lawrence Greenberg . . .
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Challenges Ahead on Telephone Metadata Collection

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 12:00 PM

With the White House conceptual framework and the HPSCI bill on the table, there may be a way forward on telephone metadata collection for foreign intelligence purposes. Of the three possible options that existed before March 28: (i) the data continuing to reside with the government in a modified program, (ii) the data residing with the telephone . . .
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What Would Have Been Big News: The Daoud Disclosure Order

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Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:02 PM

As Wells noted last week, there was a significant decision regarding FISA, in the Northern District of Illinois, on January 29th. In the case of United States v. Daoud, Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman ordered the disclosure of FISA application materials to the defendant’s security-cleared attorney.  Thus 36 years of contrary district court precedent—which held that such applications need not be . . .
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Part III: The Diamond Buried Deep in the Surveillance Review Group Report

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Friday, January 3, 2014 at 2:00 PM

What follows is the last in a short, three-post assessment of selected aspects of the surveillance review group report. In this post, I highlight what is, in my view, the most productive of the review group’s many observations, from a national security perspective. Not surprisingly, given the composition and expertise of the review group members, . . .
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Part II: Observations on Selected Surveillance Review Group Themes

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Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Part

A Three-Post Reaction to the Surveillance Review Group Report

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Over the past week and a half, writers on this site have provided comprehensive and detailed summaries of the surveillance review group report, along with some observations and assessments, as well as sharper critiques. Today, Lawfare is running the first of three posts summarizing my reaction to and observations about various aspects of the report. The first post, . . .
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Thoughts on Two Propositions: The “Power of Metadata,” and Providing Privacy Protections to Foreigners

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Thursday, November 14, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Last month, I had the privilege of participating in three different forums on the Snowden leaks and congressional considerations of reforming the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA): a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Continued Oversight of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act  on October 2nd; a panel sponsored by the New York Institute for the . . .
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An Alternative to Rep. Schiff’s Proposal for a FISA Special Advocate

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 3:00 PM

On September 20th, Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA), a senior member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, proposed legislation that would amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to add public interest advocates to the FISA process. The proposed legislation provides that the advocates would, among other things: • be comprised of a pre-approved . . .
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