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Tag: phone tapping

Appeals Court: FBI Does Not Have to Release Memo Granting Permission to Gather Phone Records

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A confidential Justice Department legal opinion on the extent of the FBI’s surveillance authority does not have to be released to the public, a federal appeals court ruled, the Washington Post reports.

The January 2010 memo gave the FBI permission to gather phone call records from telecommunications companies.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that the memo was not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

“The District Court correctly concluded that the unclassified portions of the OLC Opinion could not be released without harming the deliberative processes of the government by chilling the candid and frank communications necessary for effective governmental decision-making,” the court said in its opinion written by D.C. Circuit Judge Harry T. Edwards.

Did FBI Conduct Warrantless Wiretapping of Trenton Mayor Tony Mack?

Mayor Tony Mack

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI was listening to Trenton Mayor Tony Mack’s cell phone calls for nearly six months under the authority of a court.

But that authorization ended two days after agents raided Mack’s home last summer, the NJ.com reports.

Government records now suggest agents continued to tap Mack’s phone, raising major questions surrounding the handling of the probe of the mayor of New Jersey’s capital city.

NJ.com wrote that defense attorneys are likely to challenges any warrantless wiretappings.

“It will come out at the time of motions,” said Jerome Ballarotto, a lawyer for Mack’s co-defendant Joseph “JoJo” Giorgianni.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Opinion: Where’s the Outrage Over NSA Surveillance of Americans Phone Calls, E-Mails?

 
By JENNIFER STISA GRANICK and CHRISTOPHER JON SPRIGMAN
New York Times

The twin revelations that telecom carriers have been secretly giving the National Security Agency information about Americans’ phone calls, and that the N.S.A. has been capturing e-mail and other private communications from Internet companies as part of a secret program called Prism, have not enraged most Americans. Lulled, perhaps, by the Obama administration’s claims that these “modest encroachments on privacy” were approved by Congress and by federal judges, public opinion quickly migrated from shock to “meh.”

It didn’t help that Congressional watchdogs — with a few exceptions, like Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky — have accepted the White House’s claims of legality. The leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, and Saxby Chambliss, Republican of Georgia, have called the surveillance legal. So have liberal-leaning commentators like Hendrix Hertzberg and David Ignatius. 

This view is wrong — and not only, or even mainly, because of the privacy issues raised by the American Civil Liberties Union and other critics.

To read more click here.

NSA Debate Likely to Extend to Confirmation Hearings of James Comey

James Comey

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Obama’s nominee to lead the FBI, James Comey, is likely to face scrutiny over government surveillance following the discovery that the NSA had access to virtually all Americans’ phones, The Wall Street Journal reports.

That’s because Comey, a former prosecutor, is intimately familiar with surveillance.

In 2004, Comey threatened to resign from the Justice Department after senior White House aides wanted to reauthorize a secret surveillance program over Comey’s opposition.

“I don’t think the Senate will hold up his confirmation, but I do think you’ll have these collateral issues becoming part of the confirmation process,” said Joe Whitley, a former senior lawyer with the Justice Department and Homeland Security Department during the Bush administration. “Both sides of the aisle, I think, will ask questions about it, and one or more senators could say they want answers on this before they move forward with the confirmation process.”