FISA: 702 Collection

More from the FISC on Preservation Orders in Civil Cases Against NSA and Metadata Destruction

By Wells Bennett
Friday, March 21, 2014, 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 to preserve evidence.

I've only skimmed today's FISC opinion and order, but the gist is this: Judge Walton has instructed the Department of Justice to inform the court, no later than April, about why the government did not notify the FISC earlier, about preservation orders entered in some long-running lawsuits against NSA.  (The FISC had incorrectly stated, in a prior order denying the government's own bid to relax the five-year requirement, that no preservation orders had been handed down in civil litigation regarding the metadata collection program.  And between that ruling and today's, the FISC also had reversed course: upon learning of the entry of a temporary restraining order regarding metadata, in a lawsuit pending in the Northern District of California, Judge Walton opted to change tack and halted the metadata's destruction, pending resolution of any preservation issues in the civil litigation.)

Update: Josh Gerstein has more at Politico.