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Tag Archive: Foreign Surveillance

Never Waste A Good Crisis, FBI Edition

President Trump’s decision to summarily dismiss now-former FBI Director James Comey has sparked grave concerns in many quarters.  The move has been described as a profoundly dangerous example of the President’s authoritarian instincts.  It has led to warnings of a potential constitutional crisis, speculation whether the president is guilty of obstruction of justice, and skepticism that the President’s proffered reasons for the termination actually underlie his decision.  continue »

Broad Warrantless Surveillance Threatens to Undermine the Criminal Justice System

 

Congressional debates about the renewal of one of the United States’ most sweeping intelligence surveillance laws are heating up. Helping to shape the discussion are several newly released government documents that highlight the need to ask hard questions about all of the reasons the executive branch may be gathering private communications through warrantless surveillance.…   continue »

Reforming Surveillance In the Age of Donald Trump

An NSA site in Germany.

On Wednesday, the Republican chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes (R-CA), gave a press conference in which he reported that Trump transition team members’ communications were intercepted by US intelligence agencies through “incidental collection.” This follows on Nunes’ concerns, after Michael Flynn stepped down following intelligence reports that he had talked to the Russian ambassador.…   continue »

Incidental Collection Is Extremely Troubling, Regardless of Legality

A lot of ink has been spilled over statements by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Nunes that President Trump’s communications were incidentally collected pursuant to a surveillance order under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). This has a lot of Americans scratching their heads and asking what incidental collection is, so now seemed like a good time to explain.…   continue »

It Ain’t Easy Getting a FISA Warrant: I Was an FBI Agent and Should Know

 

In his latest round of twiplash, President Trump on Saturday leveled a very serious accusation: that President Obama had personally ordered the “tapping” of telephone lines in Trump Tower in the months leading up to the November 2016 election. His tweets (scarily) reveal more about what he believes the office of the President is capable of than the reality of what the law allows.…   continue »

Just Security Event: Surveillance and the Trump Administration

Join Just Security for a fireside chat on U.S. surveillance and a celebration of Jennifer Granick‘s new book, American Spies: Modern Surveillance, Why You Should Care, And What to Do About It. Opening remarks by Senator Ron Wyden, followed by a discussion between Granick and Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times Washington Correspondent Charlie Savage on U.S.…   continue »

The Ninth Circuit’s Constitutional Detour in Mohamud

listening

 

The Ninth Circuit’s decision in United States v. Mohamud continues a trend of disappointing decisions by lower courts on the constitutionality of FISA Section 702 surveillance. There are many bones to pick with these decisions (see Jennifer Daskal’s earlier analysis here), but the most glaring flaw is the fundamental misunderstanding and misapplication of the “incidental overhear” doctrine.…   continue »