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Tag: wire 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.

NSA’s Policy of Collecting Phone Records in U.S. Likely Unconstitutional, Judge Rules

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The National Security Agency is likely violating the Constitution by gathering the dialing records of all phone calls in the U.S., the Los Angeles Times reports.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon delivered a significant blow to the NSA and lays the groundwork for a Supreme Court battle.

Leon’s ruling doesn’t go into effect immediately because he stayed the action pending an appeal by the federal government, the Times wrote.

“I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval,” wrote the judge, who was appointed to the federal district court by President George W. Bush.

Justice Department Watchdogs Did Nothing to Investigate Complaints about NSA Surveillance

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

When federal judges repeatedly complained about the government misleading them about NSA’s secret domestic surveillance, the Justice Department never sprang into action, the USA Today reports.

According to the USA Today, newly released records show the Justice Department’s internal ethics watchdog never investigated allegations of the NSA having surveillance on Americans’ phone calls and Internet connections.

At least two judges who oversee the spying programs delivered sharp rebukes after learning federal officials misrepresented the surveillance, the USA Today reported.

Although the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility is charged with investigating allegations by judges, no such probe ever occurred, according to the USA Today.

FBI Concludes It Could Not Have Prevented Boston Marathon Bombing

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Facing mounting pressure to explain how the Boston Marathon bombers eluded suspicion, the FBI concluded Thursday that there was nothing the agency could do to prevent the attacks, the New York Times reports.

The FBI conducted server internal reviews of the bureau’s handling of Russian intelligence that warned the U.S. about one of the suspects, Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

Some members of Congress have argued the FBI could have done more to investigate Tsarnaev, who was killed during a shootout with police.

FBI officials said federal laws and Justice Department protocols prevented them from conducting a more extensive probe. Agents, for example, couldn’t conduct surveillance , such as wire-tapping, for that kind of investigations, the Times wrote.

The FBI also dismissed criticism that it should have investigated Tsarnaev after he returned from a trip to Russia in 2012 because there was no evidence he was radicalized.

NSA Surveillance on Domestic Calls Narrowly Dodged a House Plan to End the Controversial Practice

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The U.S. House narrowly rejected a plan that would have limited the controversial collection of telephone records on domestic calls Wednesday after the extent of the surveillance was leaked last month, the USA Today reports.

The 217-205 vote means the NSA can continue collecting domestic surveillance without as much as a warrant.

Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., proposed the amendment and managed to round up a group of conservatives, libertarians and liberals to support it.

The move would have required NSA to collect data more discriminately by focusing on individual suspects.

But critics said the amendment would have killed a powerful tool to keep the country safe from terrorism.

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.