Latest in FISA: 215 Collection


NSA Will Destroy Section 215 Records

According to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the National Security Agency will no longer access the historical metadata collected under Section 215 after the 180-day transition period authorized under the USA Freedom Act. The Agency will retain the information for three additional months (so, until sometime in late February 2016) to allow technical personel to evaluate the integrity of data from the new collection method, but it will be off limits for analytical purposes.


FISA Court Order Revives NSA Bulk Metadata Collection

Dustin Volz of the National Journal brings us the news that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has "revived the National Security Agency's bulk collection of Americans' phone records" for an additional five months, as allowed under the USA Freedom Act passed earlier this month.

The order, written by Judge Michael W. Mosman, begins


Legislative Staff Memo on USA Freedom Act Amendments

There may still be a few Lawfare readers who are not so disgusted with their legislature—and their legislators—that they are still following the Senate’s ongoing machinations over the USA Freedom Act. For those who can still contemplate the subject without nausea, here’s the state of play in a nutshell. The sunsetting provisions of the Patriot Act lapsed last night. But the Senate apparently is moving forward after-the-fact on a bill that is substantially similar—with a few differences—from the bill it could not move either six months ago or a week ago.

FISA: 215 Collection

Without the USA Freedom Act, NSA Could Resume Bulk Collection Even if Patriot Act Provisions Expire

With the Senate continuing its dangerous brinksmanship regarding the imminent expiration of three Patriot Act provisions, opponents of NSA bulk data collection seem poised to celebrate whatever happens. McConnell’s efforts to extend the Patriot Act unchanged lack enough support to pass either chamber. A last-minute deal to pass the USA Freedom Act may be in the works, but would still face a number of procedural and political hurdles.


Why the Current Section 215 Reform Debate Doesn't Matter Much

The ACLU's Chris Soghoian explains (time 25:52-30:55) why the current debate over Section 215 of the Patriot Act is just a minor facet of a large and complex bulk collection program by the FBI and the NSA.

There were 180 orders authorized last year by the FISA Court under Section 215 -- 180 orders issued by this court. Only five of those orders relate to the telephony metadata program. There are 175 orders about completely separate things.


With Friends Like These

Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell – both Republican Senators from Kentucky – despise the USA Freedom Act for different reasons. As readers know, the Freedom Act ends bulk collection while giving the NSA the ability quickly to query metadata held by telecommunications providers under a narrow and specific court-supervised standard.


DOJ's Inspector General Releases New Review of FBI Use of Section 215 Orders

The Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Justice has released a new unclassified report reviewing the FBI's use of Section 215 orders from 2007 through 2009.

Specifically, the review examines the progress of the Department and the FBI in addressing the three recommendations in the OIG's March 2008 report: that the Department implement minimization procedures for the handling of non-publicly available information concerning U.S.

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