Chris Soghoian writes:
In both 2004, and 2009, the US Department of Justice provided Congress with a “document dump”, covering 5 years of Pen Register and Trap & Trace surveillance reports. Although the law clearly requires the Attorney General to submit annual reports to Congress, DOJ has not done so, nor has it provided any reason for its repeated failure to submit the reports to Congress in a timely manner, as the law requires.
Based on 10 years of repeated failures, it seems clear that the Department of Justice is unable to supply Congress with annual reports for pen register and trap & trace surveillance. As such, I think it is time for Congress to take a serious look at this problem, and consider shifting the responsibility for the reporting to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, which has a proven track record of reliably collecting and publicly disseminating similar statistics regarding wiretap orders.
Read more on Slight Paranoia, where Chris includes some surveillance statistics, drawn from an upcoming law review article.
One wonders why Congress continues to permit the Department of Justice to ignore its obligation to provide annual reports on time. Chris suggests assigning responsibility to another agency, but in the alternative, if Congress were firmer that DOJ would not get some of its funding until it turned in its required paperwork on this, perhaps the DOJ would manage to do what it is supposed to do.
Then too, if we actually had a Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board that had anyone on it….. but the Board continues to remain empty under Obama’s administration.