Reality Leigh Winner, a recently separated Air Force linguist and a new hire by Pluribus International Corporation as a support contractor with a Top Secret clearance, allegedly searched for and printed out a Top Secret government report, folded it up, and dropped it in the mail to an online news outlet. Yesterday, the U.S. Attorney’s office revealed her arrest in an unsealed indictment.
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The most important policy question raised by the WannaCry ransomware fiasco is not the most obvious one.
In this surveillance-heavy episode [Please use that link; we're still having trouble with the embed code], Professors Chesney and Vladeck dig into a raft of news about foreign-intelligence collection authorities. They open with an overview of how Section 702 collection authority works, and then unpack the recent news that NSA is dropping the “about” collection component of Upstream collection under 702.
What Is the "Right" Number of Call Detail Records for 42 Targets under FISA's Business Records Authority?
ODNI's transparency report contains loads of interesting information (see, e.g., Adam's post here on FBI queries of the fruits of 702 collection).
The mystery as to why there was no Section 702 application or certification reported for 2016 has now been solved (I'm assuming readers know today's big 702 news, flagged by Quinta here, and as explored in detail by Charlie Savage in this article): NSA has been struggling to resolve a problem with "about" collection under the Upstream heading, including in particular a problem with analysts quering the fruits of that c
The next in our series of book soirees at the Hoover Institution will take place from 5-7 pm on Tuesday, April 18, when Ben will join Russell Miller (professor of law at Washington & Lee University School of Law) and Ralf Poscher (professor of law at University of Freiberg) to discuss their contributions to a new book of essays, Privacy & Power: A Transatlantic Dialogue in the Shadow of the NSA-Affair. All three contributed to the volume, and Russell Miller is the editor.
Historical Context for Today's Surveillance Debates: The 1945 Legal Memo on What Became Operation Shamrock
Section 702 is coming up for renewal later this year, and it is clear we'll be hearing a lot in that context about the impact of SIGINT collection activities on US person communications. When that topic comes up, inevitably there follows at least a brief reference to the Church Committee's exposure of Operation SHAMROCK and Operation MINARET. In light of all this—or perhaps just because I love archival finds—I'm writing this post to capture some 1940s history that helps us better understand those 1970s revelations—and how if at all they pertain to today's controversies.
Late Friday, word came out of NSA that the highly-respected Deputy Director Rick Ledgett would be retiring in the spring. Understandably, people wondered whether this was the first indication of trouble out of the intelligence community under President Trump. Was this a sign that principled career officials were resigning in protest; were they being pushed out in favor of political allies of the White House?
Last year, Laura Donohue of Georgetown published a new book that will be of interest to readers: "The Future of Foreign Intelligence: Privacy and Surveillance in a Digital Age." The blurb for the book reads:
Earlier this afternoon we flagged the Obama administration's new Executive Order 12333 rules governing Intelligence Community (IC) access to and use of raw signals intelligence (SIGINT).