Aug 212013
 August 21, 2013  Posted by  Court, Featured News, Govt, Surveillance

Mark Rumold writes:

For almost two years, EFF has been fighting the government in federal court to force the public release of an 86-page opinion of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). Issued in October 2011, the secret court’s opinion found that surveillance conducted by the NSA under the FISA Amendments Act was unconstitutional and violated “the spirit of” federal law.

Today, EFF can declare victory: a federal court ordered the government to release records in our litigation, the government has indicated it intends to release the opinion today, and ODNI has called a 3:00 EST press conference to discuss “issues” with FISA Amendments Act surveillance, which we assume will include a discussion of the opinion.

Read more on EFF.

Update 1: The opinion can be found here.   The problem seems to have stemmed from “upstream” collection of data which often collected internet transactions that were neither to/from approved target facilities nor about targeted facilities. The upstream collection of Internet transactions accounted for 9% of the collection.

Update 2: FISC wasn’t too happy with appears to be yet another – and significant – misrepresentation in previous submissions by the government:


Update 3: And here we go, from p. 29 of the opinion:

Update 4: Read more about the opinion in Spencer Ackerman’s report and in Marcy Wheeler’s commentary here.

Update 5: Ellen Nakashima has a good write-up on The Washington Post that begins:

For several years, the National Security Agency unlawfully gathered tens of thousands of e-mails and other electronic communications between Americans as part of a now-revised collection method, according to a 2011 secret court opinion.

The redacted 85-page opinion, which was declassified by U.S. intelligence officials on Wednesday, states that, based on NSA estimates, the spy agency may have been collecting as many as 56,000 “wholly domestic” communications each year.

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