DOJ Agrees To Release Redacted Court Ruling About How NSA Practices Violated The 4th Amendment
from the transparency! dept
You may recall that last year it was revealed that the FISA court (FISC) had determined that certain searches by the NSA under the section 702 program of the FISA Amendments Act were unconstitutional under the 4th Amendment. As we noted just this morning, it appears that the NSA's justification for spying on Americans is related to this ruling. Ever since that secret ruling was announced, the EFF has been asking the government for a copy of it, via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process. The DOJ has fought very very hard against releasing this ruling, claiming that it would put us all in danger:
The government has determined that disclosure of the information withheld from Plaintiff could result in exceptionally grave and serious damage to the national security. Plaintiff obviously cannot contend otherwise. The Court accordingly should defer to the government’s determination in this case, uphold the Department’s withholdings, and grant this motion.
Except, today, during President Obama's press conference, the DOJ suddenly (magically!) changed its position and filed a motion with the court saying that it will no longer fight this, but instead will release a redacted version of the FISC ruling later this month, claiming that recent declassifications by the federal government mean this is now acceptable.
Defendant further provides notice to the Court and Plaintiff that it has
determined it will release to Plaintiff a redacted version of the Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Court (“FISC”) opinion previously withheld in full pursuant to FOIA
exemptions (b)(1) and (b)(3), and a redacted version of the one responsive paragraph in the
classified white paper to Congress also previously withheld in full pursuant to those
exemptions. The information to be released to Plaintiff will consist of segregable
information that the government has declassified and thus is no longer exempt under (b)(1)
The filing also requests a bit more time to handle all of this, but it appears that revealing at least a little bit of info from this key ruling will no longer kill us all. And now we wait to see just how much is actually revealed... and how much is redacted.