Feds Wait Until Late Friday To Release Details Of Criminal Case That Used NSA Surveillance, Which They'd Kept Secret
from the friday-night:-where-news-goes-to-die dept
Of course, this allowed the feds to cherry pick their case... and the date and time to release the "news." So, of course they chose Friday night, which is when the government always tries to release bad news. So we're taking that news and discussing it the following Monday, because this is big and it deserves serious attention. Late Friday, the government admitted that it had used information gleaned via programs under the FISA Amendments Act in the criminal case against Jamshid Muhtorov, who was charged in January 2012 with "providing material support to the Islamic Jihad Union, a designated terrorist organization based in Uzbekistan." Much of the original complaint against Muhtorov involves discussions about intercepted calls and emails, though it's unclear how many (if any) of those were done under the FAA or other law enforcement authorities.
The new notice in the case doesn't reveal very much at all, other than that the government intends to "offer into evidence or otherwise use or disclose in proceedings... information obtained or derived from acquisition of foreign intelligence information conducted pursuant to the" FAA. Basically, this case now is very likely to become the key case in testing the constitutionality of at least some aspects of the FISA Amendments Act surveillance efforts (which include the "upstream" tapping of the internet backbone via telcos, though it's not clear if that was used in this particular case).
In other words, this case just got a lot more interesting -- though it's clear that the feds tried very carefully to pick a case where the facts work strongly in their favor. I would imagine, however, that various public interest and civil liberties groups are gearing up to see how they might help out in the case.