Jack Bouboushian reports:
The NSA claims it has complied with a court order to preserve evidence in a challenge to its secret surveillance program – under its own reading of plaintiffs’ claims, which the plaintiffs dispute.
The government told the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) in March that it did not believe the evidence preservation order in Jewel v. NSA, a challenge to the security agency’s telephone surveillance of U.S. citizens, applied to its current telephony metadata collection practices.
It claimed that the seven-year-old Jewel litigation extended only to surveillance authorized by President George W. Bush without FISC oversight. That program is said to have ended in 2007.
Plaintiffs were appalled by this reading of the complaint, and at an emergency hearing, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White agreed to extend a temporary retraining order , forbidding the NSA from destroying metadata until the dispute is resolved.
This misunderstanding also led to a conflicting order from the FISC, prompting a government apology .
The government filed its brief regarding compliance with the preservation orders on Friday, opening with a defiant tone.
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