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Tag Archive: Guest Post

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 »

Encryption Backdoors, Vault 7, and the Jurassic Park Rule of Internet Security

Surely without a hint of irony, just a day after WikiLeaks dumped a vault-load of documents detailing the Central Intelligence Agency’s use of hacking tools and software exploits, FBI Director James Comey told an audience at a Boston College conference on cybersecurity that “[t]here is no such thing as absolute privacy in America.” Comey’s elevator pitch in support of his claim was that “there is no place outside of judicial reach,” citing the fact that even time-tested testimonial privileges of the spousal, clergy–penitent, and attorney–client sort can be pierced by judges in “appropriate” circumstances.…   continue »

The “Travel Ban” Executive Order as Separation-of-Powers Test Case

The White House’s March 6 executive order “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States” (the March EO or the new EO) is a telling blend of change from and continuity with its January 27 precursor. Its changes signal the (current) strength of traditional institutional resistance from courts and bureaucrats to an insurgent, populist presidency.…   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 »

Violence in Cyberspace: Are Disruptive Cyberspace Operations Legal under International Humanitarian Law?

It is already widely acknowledged that cyberspace has become the fifth domain of warfare, and militaries around the world are training various cyber units, who will be supporting military operations, both by defending cyber infrastructure, and by engaging in cyber-attacks, with the purpose of manipulating, interrupting, and damaging the computer systems and networks of the enemy.…   continue »

Whistleblower Retaliation: A Governmental Accountability and National Security Crisis

The role of an Inspector General (IG) office in a federal agency or department is to root out waste, fraud, and abuse, and where necessary refer criminal conduct to the Justice Department for prosecution. But what happens when the IG itself is corrupt, especially in a national security context where secrecy can be used to conceal malfeasance?…   continue »

New Case Proves Intelligence Community Whistleblowers Have Protections

NSA headquarters, Ft. Meade, Md.

In December, Adm. Mike Rogers, director of the NSA, placed the agency’s Inspector General (IG), Dr. George Ellard, on administrative leave and recommended he be removed from his position after an investigation into whether he retaliated against a whistleblower was conducted by a panel of IGs at the CIA, Treasury and Justice Department.  continue »