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Tag: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court

Privacy Rights Group Sues Federal Government Over NSA Surveillance Program

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A privacy rights group is suing the Obama administration over its NSA surveillance program, the USA Today reports.

The Electronic Privacy Center has taken the case to the Supreme Court to argue the program is unconstitutional.

In its petition to the court, the group said the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ‘exceeded its statutory jurisdiction when it ordered production of millions of domestic telephone records that cannot plausibly be relevant to an authorized investigation.”

The Obama administration already is catching staunch criticism for its widespread surveillance of phone and email records.

The NSA leaker, Edward Snowden, is believed to still be in a Moscow airport in legal limbo.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

NSA’s Surveillance of Domestic Calls Was Permitted by Secret Court in Mid-2000s

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A secret court played a major role in the NSA’s ability to gather phone data on millions of Americans, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court decided in the mid-2000s to broaden the definition of “relevant,” which allowed the collection of millions of people’s phone records.

The information includes the phone numbers and locations of all domestic calls, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Some attorneys are unsettled by the decision.

“I think it’s a stretch” of previous federal legal interpretations, says Mark Eckenwiler, a senior counsel at Perkins Coie LLP who, until December, was the Justice Department’s primary authority on federal criminal surveillance law. If a federal attorney “served a grand-jury subpoena for such a broad class of records in a criminal investigation, he or she would be laughed out of court.”

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Moving; Could Help Perceptions

Judge Royce Lamberth/court photo

In real estate, they say, it’s location location location. Well, some are saying the same for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in Washington that is moving from the Justice Department to new digs in the U.S. District Court down the street. Some like U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth (in photo) hope the move will erase some perceptions that the court is less than independent.

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — First, the workers encased the room in reinforced concrete. Then came the thick wood-and-metal doors that seal into the walls. Behind those walls they labored in secret for two years, building a courtroom, judge’s chambers and clerk’s offices. The only sign that they were done came recently, when biometric hand scanners and green “Restricted Access” placards were placed at the entrances.

What workers have finally completed — or perhaps not; few really know, and none would say — is the nation’s most secure courtroom for its most secretive court. In coming days, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court will move from its current base at the Justice Department and settle into a new $2 million home just off a public hallway in the District’s federal courthouse.

The relocation is a rare public action by a mysterious Washington institution that is judged by its ability to keep secrets while overseeing the government’s efforts to gather them. Its role, generally, is to determine whether the federal government can spy on U.S. citizens or foreigners in the United States in terrorism or espionage investigations.

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