Adam Klein

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Adam Klein is chairman of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, an independent executive branch agency tasked with ensuring that efforts to protect the nation from terrorism appropriately safeguard privacy and civil liberties. The views expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. government, the Board, or other Board Members.

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Today’s Big News About “Backdoor Searches”

One of the most hotly debated aspects of Section 702 is the practice of querying 702-acquired data using U.S.-person identifiers—in particular, queries conducted by the FBI in non-national-security criminal investigations. Some label these “backdoor searches,” although the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has held that such queries are not searches that trigger the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement.


Don’t Dismiss Concerns about Transition-Period Unmasking (At Least Not Yet)

The aftermath of the 2016 election has spun off yet another divisive issue: Whether White House officials inappropriately requested the identities of Trump transition aides whose names had been “masked” in classified intelligence reports. The kerfuffle over unmasking adds even more to the already heaping plates of congressional investigators currently probing Russian “active measures” and leaks of U.S.-person information collected under FISA.

The Russia Connection

Bipartisan Investigations: How the 9/11 Commission Did It

Whatever your political outlook, the ferment surrounding last year’s presidential election raises important, unanswered questions: What, precisely, did the Russians do, and were any Americans involved? Were members of presidential campaigns or transition teams recorded on foreign-intelligence or criminal wiretaps? If so, under what legal authority? Were their identities disseminated within the government? If so, for what purpose? And how did classified information about such wiretaps make its way into the press?