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Category Archives: FISA

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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On The Recent FISC Preservation Rulings

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Thursday, April 10, 2014 at 5:00 PM

When last we checked in on the metadata preservation saga, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court had authorized the government—in contravention of its prior order—to retain metadata beyond the FISA-imposed five year limit in order to account for evidence preservation issues being litigated by civil plaintiffs in suits against the NSA in the Northern District of California.  On . . .
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About (A Lot More Than) Metadata

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Thursday, April 10, 2014 at 7:52 AM

The recent announcements by the President and the leaders of the House Intelligence Committee marked the beginning of the end of more than a decade of bulk metadata collection by the government under evolving authorities and legal structures. Now those structures are likely to change. Here on Lawfare, Matt Danzer, Ben Wittes and Carrie Cordero have . . .
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Clearing Up Surveillance

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Saturday, April 5, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Henry V’s claim to the throne of France is “as clear as is the summer’s sun,” explains the Archbishop of Canterbury in Shakespeare’s play.  The joke, of course, is that he has come to this conclusion following several dozen lines of impenetrably dense legal argument.  I’ve found it similarly difficult to explain intelligence surveillance law, . . .
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Three Speeches on Cybersecurity by Dan Geer

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Thursday, April 3, 2014 at 3:00 PM

Cyber security maven Dan Geer has given three speeches in the last six months that are worth a read: (a) APT in a World of Rising Interdependence, given last month at the NSA; (b) We Are All Intelligence Officers Now, given at the RSA Conference in February; and (c) Trends in Cyber Security, given at NRO last November. . . .
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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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Exclusive: NSA Program Can Target Thoughts of Millions of Targets, Thousands of Americans

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014 at 12:01 AM

The National Security Agency has developed the capability to mine the thought patterns of millions of people simultaneously, collection that may involve thousands of Americans, according to the latest disclosure from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. An NSA Powerpoint slide refers to the classified program, code-named “MINDPRISM,” as “The Ultimate in Upstream Collection.” A combination . . .
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The National Security Agency at the Crossroads: A Conference at UT (April 3-4)

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Sunday, March 30, 2014 at 7:00 PM

I’m very pleased to report the latest venture of the Intelligence Studies Project at the University of Texas (co-sponsored by the Strauss Center and the Clements Center):  a conference addressing the controversies surrounding the NSA, to be held in Austin on Thursday and Friday this week. As you’ll see in the agenda below, we were . . .
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More FISC Materials Released

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Saturday, March 29, 2014 at 10:50 AM

Friday brought us three newly declassified FISC rulings.  The release was prompted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s FOIA action against the NSA. Interestingly, one of the documents apparently is an “updated”—according to the DNI release—version of a previously released, March 2, 2009 FISC order, which had blasted NSA for non-compliance with certain minimization rules. At . . .
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Joint DNI/AG Statement on Bulk Telephone Records Collection, Pending Legislative Changes

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Saturday, March 29, 2014 at 10:26 AM

The document was released late yesterday afternoon.  Here ’tis: Earlier this year in a speech at the Department of Justice, President Obama announced a transition that would end the Section 215 bulk telephony metadata program as it existed, and that the government would establish a mechanism that preserves the capabilities we need without the government . . .
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White House Fact Sheet on Metadata Proposal

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Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 9:52 AM

Here it is, in full; an excerpt containing a sketch of the White House’s proposed legislation is below. Consistent with this directive, DOJ and the IC developed options designed to meet the criteria the President laid out in his speech — to preserve the capabilities we need without the government holding this metadata. The Administration . . .
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On the White House and HPSCI Proposals for Surveillance Reform

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 2:57 PM

By now you’ve likely heard: the President will back a legislative proposal to end the NSA’s bulk collection of telephony metadata.  And Congressmen Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersburger, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee, respectively, likewise unveiled their own NSA reform proposal this morning at a press conference.  You can add . . .
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White House Will Back Legislation Ending NSA’s Bulk Collection of Phone Metadata

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Monday, March 24, 2014 at 9:41 PM

That’s the gist of this quite important story, from Charlie Savage at the New York Times:  WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is preparing to unveil a legislative proposal to drastically overhaul the National Security Agency’s once-secret bulk phone records program. Under the proposal, data about Americans’ calling habits would be kept in the hands of phone companies, . . .
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More from the FISC on Preservation Orders in Civil Cases Against NSA and Metadata Destruction

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Friday, March 21, 2014 at 3:08 PM

This just in from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court—in the person of its Presiding Judge, Reggie Walton, and regarding data retention issues. These have arisen, of course, in light of the FISC-crafted “five-year rule” for metadata destruction, on the one hand, and recent civil litigation regarding the metadata program, on the other.  The latter naturally implicates the government’s obligation . . .
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Snowden v. Ledgett at TED

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Friday, March 21, 2014 at 6:48 AM

Edward Snowden gave a TED talk at TED2014: After it, TED folks offered NSA a chance to respond—and Rick Ledgett, deputy director of the agency, showed up by video conference to answer questions:

PCLOB 702 Hearing Video

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Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 7:20 AM

Here is the video for the PCLOB’s day-long hearing yesterday on Section 702 surveillance. For some reason, they are not embeddable (Memo to CSPAN: grrrrrrr). But here they are: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

PCLOB Hearing on 702 Programs

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 3:06 PM

The Privacy an Civil Liberties Oversight Board has been holding a Public Hearing on the 702 program since 8.45am this morning. Witnesses (and links to written testimony) are listed below: Panel I: Government Perspective on Section 702 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act James A. Baker (General Counsel, Federal Bureau of Investigation) Rajesh De (General Counsel, National . . .
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From the Department of Dubious Civil Liberties Accomplishments

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Monday, March 17, 2014 at 7:39 AM

Amidst the flap between the CIA and the SSCI last week, you may have missed the news about the back-and-forth between NSA and the FISA court over whether the agency may, must, or mustn’t retain telephony metadata past the five year deadline for its destruction. Just in case you did, I wanted to give a . . .
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NYU School of Law Event: “‘The Snowden Operation’: A Victory for Privacy Rights or for Russia?”

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Friday, March 14, 2014 at 11:04 AM

  NYU School of Law hosted a debate yesterday between Edward Lucas, Senior Editor of The Economist and author of The Snowden Operation: Inside the West’s Greatest Intelligence Disaster—which Ben reviewed last month—and Stephen Holmes, Professor at NYU Law. The event was moderated by Ryan Goodman, also of NYU Law. Here is the description of the panel . . .
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New FISC Order On Retention of Metadata

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 9:11 PM

On Monday, we reported on the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by Judge Jeffrey S. White of the Northern District of California, which prohibited the government from destroying telephone metadata collected by the NSA, pursuant to Section 215 of the Patriot Act.  The idea was to preserve the metadata, as evidence for potential use in pending civil . . .
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