Skip to content

Category Archives: FISA

More Arrests of Americans Attempting to Fight for ISIL in Syria

By
Monday, April 20, 2015 at 1:30 PM

Six Somali-American men from the Minneapolis area have been arrested on material support charges, based on allegations that they were attempting to travel to Syria to join ISIL. The complaint and corresponding FBI affidavit are posted here. Note that the complaint is a handy case study in the variety of investigative techniques that FBI might . . .
Read more »

Keeping Track of the US Intelligence Community’s Leakers

By
Monday, April 20, 2015 at 8:13 AM

It’s getting hard to keep track of the U.S. intelligence community leakers without a scorecard. So here’s my attempt: Leaker #1: Chelsea Manning. Leaker #2: Edward Snowden. Leaker #3: The person who leaked secret documents to Jake Appelbaum, Laura Poitras and others in Germany: the Angela Merkel surveillance story, the TAO catalog, the X-KEYSCORE rules. . . .
Read more »

Focusing on 702: A Brief Reply to the Brennan Center’s Liza Goitein and Faiza Patel

By
Friday, April 10, 2015 at 11:30 AM

The Brennan Center’s Liza Goitein and Faiza Patel have posted a response  to my post of last week challenging three of their recommendations in their recent report on the FISA Court. This post is a brief reply to their first response point regarding the justification for and important function of Section 702 of FISA. Section . . .
Read more »

Fixing the FISA Court by Fixing FISA: A Response to Carrie Cordero

By and
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 at 12:18 PM

Our friend Carrie Cordero has levied criticisms against three of the recommendations presented in our report, What Went Wrong With the FISA Court. We appreciate, as always, her constructive engagement with us on these issues. In the same spirit, we offer these points in response. 1. Our report notes that Section 702 had a limited . . .
Read more »

The Clock is Ticking on the 215 Sunset—And Why That Matters

By
Tuesday, April 7, 2015 at 5:27 PM

Tick. Tick. Tick. That’s the sound of time slipping away before the June 1 sunset of the Patriot Act 215 provision. We’re now within two months of the sunset. Congress does not seem to be bestirring itself to pass anything—the USA Freedom Act in one form or another—so we need to consider the possibility that . . .
Read more »

Two New FISA Court Judges Designated

By
Tuesday, April 7, 2015 at 11:08 AM

From the FISC’s website: “The Chief Justice has designated Judge James P. Jones of the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia and Judge Thomas B. Russell of the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky to seven year terms on the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Their terms . . .
Read more »

Where are the Section 215 Cases — and What Impact Will They Have?

By
Friday, March 27, 2015 at 3:12 PM

Section 215, the law that has been interpreted to authorize the controversial bulk telephony metadata program, will sunset in about two months — on June 1, 2015 — unless Congress acts. The White House recently confirmed that if Section 215 sunsets, the program will be shut down. I can’t predict what Congress might do, but . . .
Read more »

The Power of Citizenship Bias

By
Monday, March 23, 2015 at 3:00 PM

Following up on my post from last week on the report of the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) of the UK Parliament, which inter alia recommended that British law for the first time introduce distinctions between citizens and non-citizens for the purpose of regulating electronic surveillance, I’d like to briefly comment on another relevant development. . . .
Read more »

Brennan Center Report on “What Went Wrong with the FISA Court”

By
Wednesday, March 18, 2015 at 3:15 PM

The civil liberties group’s report was released today. It was authored by Elizabeth Goitein and Faiza Patel (who has contributed pieces to Lawfare), and has a foreword by retired U.S. District Judge James Robertson—a former member of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Here are the report’s key recommendations: Congress should end programmatic surveillance and require the . . .
Read more »

Stop Spying on Wikipedia Users – Comment on NY Times editorial

By
Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at 6:00 PM

The New York Times today has an op-ed by the founder of Wikipedia called Stop Spying on Wikipedia Users. The op-ed asserts that “N.S.A.’s mass surveillance of Internet traffic on American soil — often called “upstream” surveillance — violates the Fourth Amendment, which protects the right to privacy, as well as the First Amendment, which . . .
Read more »

The Latest 215 Collection Renewal

By
Monday, March 2, 2015 at 6:43 AM

It happened Friday. Here’s the White House Statement: In January 2014, President Obama directed an end to the Section 215 bulk telephony metadata program as it then existed, and called for the establishment of a mechanism that would preserve the program’s essential capabilities without the government holding the bulk data. In March 2014, based on . . .
Read more »

Fishing Expedition

By
Friday, February 27, 2015 at 4:00 PM

Do you worry that the NSA, perhaps in a joint program with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, might be considering a “collect-it-all” program to seize and monitor fish, crocodiles, or antelopes for national security purposes?  If so – and I think I may have read something about this on The Intercept – you can . . .
Read more »

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

By
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 . . .
Read more »

Mysterious Discretion: When Journalists Wield Power We Don’t Understand

By
Monday, February 23, 2015 at 2:00 PM

Last night, Laura Poitras’s Citizenfour received an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, a win I have been anticipating since Glenn Greenwald won the Pulitzer Prize back in April for breaking the Edward Snowden leaks. In honor of the occasion, let’s reflect on the single most compelling moment in Citizenfour. I am talking about the moment in the . . .
Read more »

Why Should We Buy Into The Notion That The United States Doesn’t Care About Privacy?

By
Monday, February 23, 2015 at 8:23 AM

It is a common perception that Americans care less about privacy than Europeans, especially after the attacks of September 11, and the Snowden revelations only seemed to reinforce that perception. Last week, President Obama argued that European privacy complaints are really about something else. Europeans, he said, may simply be using privacy fears as a . . .
Read more »

NSA’s Section 215 Telephony Metadata Program Should and Can Be Shut Down

By
Friday, February 13, 2015 at 7:40 AM

One year ago, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) reviewed the National Security Agency’s bulk telephony metadata program and concluded the program was both illegal and imprudent as a policy matter. Under this program conducted pursuant to Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, the NSA on a daily basis indiscriminately collects Americans’ . . .
Read more »

DNI Report on Implementation of Signals Intelligence Reforms: Some Highlights

By
Sunday, February 8, 2015 at 8:14 PM

Last week the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released its 2015 Signals Intelligence Reform Report, designed to highlight the intelligence community’s implementation of Presidential Policy Directive (PPD)-28. The document is a mixed bag: There’s some aspirational, high-altitude language; the report also reaffirms previously known intelligence community views regarding the legality of certain operations . . .
Read more »

First Take on Government’s Surveillance Reform Update Report

By
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 . . .
Read more »

Live: Bob Litt Speaks at Brookings on Intelligence and Surveillance Reform

By
Wednesday, February 4, 2015 at 11:58 AM

At the top of the hour, Robert S. Litt, General Counsel at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence will speak at the Brookings Institution. His address is expected to examine what has been done so far to implement the directives announced in President Obama’s January 2014 speech at the Department of Justice as . . .
Read more »

What Happens if We #Sunset215?

By
Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at 2:30 PM

A law the government cites as authority for the bulk collection of millions of Americans’ communications records—Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act—expires unless Congress extends it by Memorial Day weekend. The Center for Democracy & Technology, and other public interest groups, believes that Sec. 215 should sunset unless it is reformed to stop nationwide surveillance . . .
Read more »