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Tag Archives: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC)

DOJ Releases Three Redacted FISC Telephone Metadata Orders

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at 6:12 PM

From the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s Tumblr site, we learn today that on Tuesday, the Department of Justice released three redacted primary orders of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (“FISC”) from 2009—all three authorizing collection, from telecommunications companies, of telephony metadata under 50 U.S.C. 1861. Here are the orders: FISC Docket Number BR . . .
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CRS Report on Whether Congress Can Compel Disclosure of FISA Opinions

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 2:45 PM

Over at Secrecy News, the estimable Steve Aftergood writes: Could Congress legally compel the executive branch to disclose classified opinions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court?  Maybe not, a new analysis from the Congressional Research Service concludes. The CRS report—entitled “Disclosure of FISA Court Opinions: Select Legal Issues”—has little to do with FISA Court opinions in . . .
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LIVE: President Obama Speaks on the NSA

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Friday, January 17, 2014 at 10:55 AM

JOIN THE LIVE CHAT VISIT WHITEHOUSE.GOV

Views from the Judiciary on Possible Surveillance Reforms

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 2:04 PM

Yesterday, U.S. District Judge John Bates sent over two documents—-a summary cover letter and a more detailed analysis—to the Senate Intelligence Committee.  Delivered in Bates’s capacity as the Director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, and derived from both his past service as the FISC’s Presiding Judge, and discussions with other current and . . .
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The Solicitor General Responds to an EPIC Mandamus Effort

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Having gained no purchase in federal district courts in countering NSA’s telephony metadata program, privacy activists are attempting a different strategy: taking the fight directly to the United States Supreme Court. Back in July, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) filed a mandamus-or-certiorari petition with the high court, seeking review of the controversial April 2013 order by . . .
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FISC: Yahoo Can Review Court Submissions Pre-Publication

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at 10:39 AM

As Yahoo News reports,the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has published an order granting Yahoo and the government’s joint motion to allow Yahoo pre-publication access to FISC documents after declassification.  

The Data on FISA Warrants

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Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 6:08 PM

Now we know:  the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court bounces a quarter of the government’s applications for surveillance orders.  This according to statistics released this week by the court’s chief judge, Reggie Walton, in a letter to Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  It also turns out the FISA Court is tougher on . . .
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More FISC Details: Between July 1 and September 30, 24.4% of FISC Applications Saw Substantive Changes

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 10:11 AM

In July, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court undertook to collect more detailed statistics than those required by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.  Among other things, the latter calls for an annual tally of surveillance applications made, and a tally of those granted, modified, or denied.  Of course, each year, over 99% of U.S. submissions made . . .
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Obama and Alexander, Bush and Tenet

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Friday, October 11, 2013 at 8:40 AM

Over at Foreign Policy, Shane Harris has a piece suggesting that folks at NSA feel abandoned by President Obama’s failure to defend the agency aggressively: Gen. Keith Alexander and his senior leadership team at the National Security Agency are angry and dispirited by what they see as the White House’s failure to defend the spy agency against . . .
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The NSA, Oversight, the Law, and Why Compliance is the Ball Game

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Friday, September 27, 2013 at 9:22 AM

For the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing yesterday, I prepared a written statement for the record, and I had intended merely to summarize that statement in my oral presentation. Two things happened that caused me to tear up my remarks and speak more extemporaneously. One was that Chairman Feinstein’s opening statement, in which she gave an . . .
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My Statement Today Before the Senate Intelligence Committee

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Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 2:00 PM

The following is my my prepared statement for today’s hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The hearing, which is beginning at this hour, concerns reform of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.  Thank you, Chairman Feinstein, Vice Chairman Chambliss, and members of the committee for inviting me to present my views on reform of the Foreign . . .
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Congress is Still Naked

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Thursday, September 19, 2013 at 12:03 AM

Our piece last night summarizing the just-released FISC opinion on Section 215 bulk metadata collection unleashed a storm of protest that caught us a little by surprise. In particular, Marcy Wheeler (aka emptywheel) went medieval on our repetition of FISC Judge Claire Eagan’s suggestion that a 2011 report the administration sent to Congress on bulk . . .
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A New FISA Court Order Has Just Been Released

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 4:38 PM

It is available here. It is dated August 29 and includes a “primary order” dated July 19. It deals with the legality of the telephony metadata program under Section 215. I have not read it yet but will do so tonight and post thoughts after I read it.

Washington Post on Privacy Violations and Illegal Surveillance by the NSA

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Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 10:56 PM

Over at the Washington Post, Barton Gellman has a Snowden-sourced piece revealing that the NSA “has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since Congress granted the agency broad new powers in 2008.” According to an internal audit from May 2012, the violations typically come in the form of . . .
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Reflections on NSA Oversight, and a Prediction That NSA Authorities (and Oversight, and Transparency) Will Expand

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Friday, August 9, 2013 at 7:52 AM

Last Friday I asked how NSA Director Alexander’s claim that “we can audit the actions of our people 100%” was consistent with USG uncertainty about what Snowden stole and with its claims that it was “putting in place actions” to allow it to track its systems administrators.  Former NSA General Counsel Stewart Baker answered that . . .
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FISC Order Authorizing the Collection of Telephone Metadata & Reports to Congress on Bulk Collection Program

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Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 9:31 AM

Here’s the “Primary Collection Order” authorizing the collection of telephone metadata, signed by FISC Judge Roger Vinson (signed April 25 and expiring on July 19th, 2013), declassified. Also declassified and posted are two reports on the NSA’s bulk collection under Section 215, one from 2009, and one from 2011.

Schmitt on Eliminating the FISC

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Friday, July 26, 2013 at 12:44 PM

Gary Schmitt has an interesting piece in the Weekly Standard that argues for eliminating FISC oversight of executive branch surveillance and instead ramping up congressional oversight.  He maintains that the FISC is hopelessly compromised because of secrecy, is constitutionally problematic, and is institutionally unsuited for the oversight task in any event.  His argument for Congress: But if . . .
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The Supreme Court’s Power To Hear In re EPIC

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013 at 9:05 AM

Wells blogged on Monday about EPIC’s new original filing in the Supreme Court, seeking mandamus, prohibition, or certiorari from the Justices to review Judge Vinson’s now-leaked FISA Court order with regard the section 215 request for Verizon’s “business records.” Needless to say, the merits of the section 215 question have received a lot of attention, . . .
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Making FISC More Adversarial: A Brief Response to Orin Kerr

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Monday, July 8, 2013 at 11:46 PM

Over at the Volokh Conspiracy, Professor Orin Kerr has a thought-provoking post on one route to reform of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court: have Congress give an adversarial role to the Oversight Section at DOJ’s National Security Division, such that security-cleared DOJ lawyers would “have a right to file a motion to oppose any application . . .
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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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