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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 »

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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What the 9/11 Commission Report Says About Syria

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Monday, September 2, 2013 at 3:00 PM

As we approach the twelfth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the first anniversary of the terrorist attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, it seems like an appropriate time to highlight several passages from the 9/11 Commission Report, which turn out to be instructive for today’s discussions of Syria. In addition . . .
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Initial Observations on Newly Declassified FISA Documents

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Thursday, August 22, 2013 at 12:01 PM

With the release of yesterday’s declassified FISA documents, the debate over whether the FISA Court is an effective check on government surveillance activities is over. Or at least it should be. Before providing some preliminary observations explaining this point, a comment on the release itself: I understand why the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) declassified . . .
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A Brief Reply to Steve

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 11:13 AM

Given Steve’s critiques of my Monday post, both here and here, I thought it worth briefly clarifying a few points. First, Steve somehow draws the conclusion that I am not interested in the legality of surveillance activities. I am not sure where he gets that. While Steve and I might disagree about the legality of certain . . .
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Thoughts on the Proposals to Make FISA More Friendly

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Monday, August 12, 2013 at 1:17 PM

President Obama was dead-on when he said the following in his August 9th press conference: “[P]robably what’s a fair criticism is my assumption that if we had checks and balances from the courts and Congress, that the traditional system of checks and balances would be enough to give people assurance that these programs were run . . .
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The Leader DHS Needs Now…Or, Later

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at 4:16 PM

One thing that struck me about the run up to the recent nomination for FBI Director (and the earlier nomination process for Secretary of State): the lack of public dialogue about the challenges the bureau faces today, and the kind of leader who would best serve it for the next decade. The process of selecting . . .
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Why These Leaks Hurt

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Friday, June 7, 2013 at 2:47 PM

[Editor's Note: Carrie Cordero is a frequent Lawfare guest poster, a former Justice Department official, and currently Director of National Security Studies at Georgetown University Law Center]  As someone who previously practiced before the FISA Court, my first reaction to seeing what appeared to be a leaked Top Secret FISA Court order containing the name of a telecommunications . . .
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