FISA Court Rubber Stamps Continued Collection Of Metadata On Every Single Phone Call
from the because-it-can dept
This won’t come as a huge surprise, I would imagine, but the telephony metadata dragnet collection that has to be renewed every few months “expired” today and was promptly reapproved by the FISA court, because “fuck you, that’s why.” That’s not quite what they said, but consider it the bureaucratic-speak equivalent, coming from the Director of National Intelligence:
Previously on several occasions, the Director of National Intelligence declassified certain information about this telephony metadata collection program in order to provide the public with a more thorough and balanced understanding of the program. Consistent with his prior declassification decision and in light of the significant and continuing public interest in the telephony metadata collection program, DNI Clapper has decided to declassify and disclose publicly that the government filed an application with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court seeking renewal of the authority to collect telephony metadata in bulk, and that the court renewed that authority.
The administration is undertaking a declassification review of this most recent court order.
Of course, it’s true that last month, the previous order rubber-stamping this approval was declassified and revealed. Even though the same thing has been rubber stamped every few months for at least the past seven years, this time there was an attempt at a full justification for why it made sense. Of course, since it was a one-sided situation, without any adversarial hearing or opinion, it allowed the FISA court to make up its own rules and completely contradict the Supreme Court (to whom it’s supposed to listen). It seems highly doubtful that the eventual declassified version of this rubber stamp will be any different than the last one.
Of course, in the last three months, we’ve also learned that this program of collecting data on every phone call in the US has been necessary to stop precisely zero attacks in the US — but it did apparently lead them to a taxi driver sending some money to some not very nice people in Somalia. And, because of that, the NSA gets to keep track of everyone’s phone calls. As has been explained repeatedly, this seems to go against not just the spirit and intended purpose of the 4th Amendment, but the plain language of that same Amendment. But, the FISA court has earned its rubber stamp reputation for a reason, and apparently it’s not about to give up on it.