Skip to content

Category Archives: Surveillance: NSA Warrantless Wiretapping

A Quick Summary of Oral Argument in In Re Directives

By
Monday, November 24, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Earlier this Fall I wrote about how certain materials from the In Re Directives litigation before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review (“FISCR” or “Court”) had been declassified. Last Monday, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released the transcript from oral argument in the FISCR case, which was held on June 19, . . .
Read more »

Live Q&A Today with NSA’s Civil Liberties and Privacy Director

By
Monday, November 24, 2014 at 12:12 PM

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is hosting an “online, interactive” Q&A today with Rebecca Richards, the NSA’s point person for civil liberties and privacy. Users can submit their questions via Tumblr here, and Ms. Richards will answer them live beginning at 2 PM EST.

Pew Study Says Exactly What You’d Expect on Privacy

By
Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 9:09 AM

The Pew Research Internet Project has released a new public opinion study that shows exactly what you would expect the public believes about privacy, surveillance, and related matters. The study seems to have involved a major effort, and I read it yesterday expecting to find some new insight into public opinion about privacy. Nope. Nothing. . . .
Read more »

Oral Argument Audio in Klayman v. Obama

By
Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 3:09 PM

The D.C. Circuit has posted the audio in Klayman v. Obama, the Section 215 case, here.

A Follow Up on the Postal Service Metadata Program

By
Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at 9:40 AM

This morning, I posted some thoughts on a story in the New York Times about so-called “mail covers” by the Postal Service and their relationship to the NSA’s bulk metadata program. It turns out that I rather understated the matter. The reason is that mail covers are actually only one of the Postal Service’s programs that collect . . .
Read more »

Will Anyone Care About the Postal Service’s Metadata Program

By
Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at 8:38 AM

I’m very interested to watch how the political system responds to this New York Times story about the U.S. Postal’s Service very old, sort-of-bulk metadata program. The Times reports: In a rare public accounting of its mass surveillance program, the United States Postal Service reported that it approved nearly 50,000 requests last year from law enforcement agencies . . .
Read more »

Charging Snowden With…Murder? Really?

By
Wednesday, October 22, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Offered without (or only a little) further comment: this piece from The Hill, and a rather eyebrow-raising quotation therein from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers regarding Edward Snowden: The former government contractor who leaked details about secret programs of the National Security Agency (NSA) and its British counterpart is a “traitor,” Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) told members of . . .
Read more »

Susan Landau on NSA Efforts to Secure Private Sector Telecommunications Infrastructure

By
Thursday, October 16, 2014 at 5:44 PM

Susan Landau has a new paper – entitled Under the Radar: NSA’s Efforts to Secure Private-Sector Telecommunications Infrastructure – up at the Journal of National Security Law and Policy.  From the abstract: Landau explains the National Security Agency’s little-known function of providing communications security (COMSEC) to private companies, which has involved an improvement of security . . .
Read more »

Why Glenn Greenwald’s Challenge is Asking the Wrong Question

By
Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at 8:36 AM

Over at Vox an admiring article appears on a challenge that Glenn Greenwald is giving to people who think they have nothing to hide: The most common defense for the massive expansion of government surveillance programs since 2001 is that they only negatively affect people who have something to hide. In a recent TED Talk, Glenn Greenwald, the journalist . . .
Read more »

On the Latest Intercept Story

By
Monday, October 13, 2014 at 10:03 PM

You may not have read much about the latest big scoop in The Intercept, released Friday evening under the bylines of Peter Maass and Laura Poitras and headlined “Core Secrets: NSA Saboteurs in China and Germany.” There have not been a lot of media organizations following the story. This might be due to the infelicitous timing of . . .
Read more »

New Yorker Profile of Laura Poitras

By
Monday, October 13, 2014 at 9:24 PM

I have just read George Packer’s profile of Laura Poitras in the New Yorker, which centers around her new, long-awaited film about Edward Snowden. The film, due for release October 24 and called Citizenfour, is the next scheduled act in the Snowden drama. I’ll reserve comment on the film until I’ve seen it. The Packer article, however, . . .
Read more »

Some Recent NSA Debates

By
Thursday, October 9, 2014 at 11:33 AM

Here’s some video of some recent NSA debates. Here’s one that took place a couple of weeks ago at Georgetown on “The NSA, Privacy & the Global Internet: Perspectives on EO 12333.” Participants included law professors Nathan Sales, Laura Donohue, DNI General Counsel Bob Litt, and former State Department official John Tyre. This one, from . . .
Read more »

NSA Report on Civil Liberties and Privacy Protections under EO 12333

By
Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at 4:00 PM

In January 2014, the NSA’s Civil Liberties and Privacy Office (CLPO) was created. The CLPO was tasked with ensuring that civil liberties and privacy protection considerations are integrated into the NSA’s mission activities. Yesterday—and importantly, given the disclosures about NSA surveillance, and subsequent developments—the CLPO released its Report on Civil Liberties and Privacy Protections for . . .
Read more »

Plaintiffs File Reply in Klayman v. Obama

By
Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at 11:51 PM

Last Friday plaintiffs (appellees/cross-appellants) in Klayman v. Obama filed their reply to the government’s response and reply brief. The plaintiffs’ new 38-page filing largely reiterates arguments from their August 13, 2014 brief—for example, contending again that Riley v. California, 134 S. Ct. 2473 (2014) changes the precedential effect of Smith v. Maryland: “The Supreme Court’s modern up-to-date view of today’s cellular . . .
Read more »

Julian Sanchez on the NSA Controversies and Surveillance Reform

By
Monday, September 22, 2014 at 9:23 PM

Cato Institute scholar Julian Sanchez has this lengthy interview with a podcast called Free Thoughts from libertarianism.org on the NSA controversies. I haven’t listened to it yet, but I look forward to doing so.

Breaking News: Government Agency Bulk Collecting Twitter Data

By
Friday, September 19, 2014 at 10:06 AM

I was at the National Security Agency yesterday giving a Constitution Day speech and I learned details of a shocking collection program: The government is bulk collecting all traffic on Twitter. Under a program menacingly called “Bulk Data in Social Media” and abbreviated—appropriately enough—as BDSM, Twitter has been providing all public traffic since 2010 for a . . .
Read more »

Updated Version of In Re Directives: A Quick Summary

By
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Readers likely recall that last week, documents from the In Re Directives litigation, regarding foreign intelligence surveillance directives issued to Yahoo!, were declassified. Chief among them: a new version of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review’s (“FISCR” or the “Court”) 2008 ruling, one less redacted than previous versions released to the public. Then-Chief Judge . . .
Read more »

The Legal Justifications For Domestic Surveillance: A Summary

By
Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 7:00 PM

Late last week, the Department of Justice released two memos authored by Lawfare‘s own Jack Goldsmith back when he was the head of the Office of Legal Counsel (“OLC”) in the Bush Administration. The memos provide the most comprehensive legal analysis to date of the surveillance program codenamed STELLAR WIND, which President Bush initiated in October 2001 to intercept terrorist communications within . . .
Read more »

DOJ Declassifies Memos On Domestic Surveillance Program

By
Sunday, September 7, 2014 at 8:36 AM

The Department of Justice recently released two Office of Legal Counsel opinions by Lawfare‘s own Jack Goldsmith from 2004. The first memo provides a lengthy and at times heavily-redacted justification for the National Security Agency’s STELLAR WIND program—a suite of domestic surveillance authorities that began in the Bush administration. The second, much shorter memo analyzes the implications of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Hamdi . . .
Read more »

The Internet Metadata Memo: A Summary

By , , and
Monday, August 18, 2014 at 11:45 AM

There is much to pore over in last week’s release by the Director National Intelligence. Responding to FOIA litigation, the DNI’s office posted more than thirty legal filings and related documents bearing on NSA’s historical, bulk collection of certain internet metadata—the addressing, routing, and header information in e-mails. Some of this stuff is old, including the . . .
Read more »