On December 31, 2021, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts released its 2021 Wiretap Report on intercepts of wire, oral, and electronic communication from Jan. 1, 2021 to Dec. 31, 2021.
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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.
The ongoing revelations about Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn’s alleged pre-inaugural contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak have generated some confusion about what privacy protections extend to US persons—i.e., citizens, permanent residents, or certain entities—under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The revelations allegedly stem from “a wiretapped conversation that Mr. Flynn had with Mr.