Author: Charlie Savage

NSA Declassifies Pile of Documents from 2011 Upstream Surveillance Litigation

The National Security Agency has declassified a third (and final) tranche of previously unreleased documents from the docket of a then-secret 2011 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court case over upstream Internet surveillance conducted under the FISA Amendments Act/702 program. Here are the first and second tranches. This third tranche is long a dense – nearly 350 pages – but […]

Don’t cite the Prism v. Upstream collection numbers from Judge Bates’ 2011 FISC opinion anymore

Among surveillance legal policy specialists, it is common to cite a set of statistics from an October 2011 opinion by Judge John Bates, then of the FISA Court, about the volume of internet communications the National Security Agency was collecting under the FISA Amendments Act (“Section 702”) warrantless surveillance program. In his opinion, declassified in […]

Judge orders Trump admin to speed up a search for legal documents, if any, about legal basis, if any, for April airstrike against Syria

Yesterday, Federal District Court Judge Christopher Cooper issued an unusual 14-page ruling in a Freedom of Information Act case brought by Protect Democracy and a preliminary injunction ordering the government to expedite its processing of the matter. The lawsuit is seeking documents laying out the Trump administration’s legal rationale for the United States’ April 6 […]

What Has Changed in the New, “Definitive” Power Wars

[Cross-posted to Lawfare] Today, Hachette is publishing the paperback edition of my history of Obama-era national-security legal policymaking, Power Wars, which is also replacing the text future e-book buyers will receive. I have systematically updated and revised the book since its hardcover publication in November 2015. A few months ago, over coffee in Cambridge, Jack […]

FOIA: Some newly declass’d FISA Court stuff from the 2011 Bates MCT/702 case

Here are some newly declassified documents from a FISA lawsuit that add to the historical record of the MCT issue that arose in 2011. They provide a little bit more information about the sequencing of the case before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and the questions that Judge John Bates was asking. I don’t immediately […]

ODNI transparency report nerding: 151 million “call detail records”

Several people have blogged things trying to make sense of the disclosure this week that the USA Freedom Act system (which replaced the Patriot Act Section 215 bulk calling records program) collected 151 million call detail records in 2016, even though the intelligence court had approved two-hop collection surrounding only 42 suspects. To be sure, […]

Here’s a previously top secret 2005 Bush Justice Department memo on Stellarwind surveillance and prosecutors’ discovery obligations

In response to one of the Freedom of Information Act lawsuits I am fighting with The New York Times’ lawyer David McCraw and our annual First Amendment Fellow, Ian MacDougal, the government has turned over a May 2005 memorandum by Patrick Rowan, who was then a top national-security prosecutor in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. […]

More Gitmo military commissions action at the Supreme Court: Bahlul cert petition filed

Defense lawyers for Ali Hamza al-Bahlul have filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to take his appeal of his conviction before a military commission of the non-war crime of “conspiracy.” It should be docketed tomorrow. Bahlul’s case has created one of the most complex appellate matters arising from the tribunals system. It went up and down […]