Update: In response to EFF’s FOIA lawsuit, the government has released the 2011 FISA court opinion ruling some NSA surveillance unconstitutional.
For over a year, EFF has been fighting the government in federal court to force the public release of an 86-page opinion of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). Issued in October 2011, the secret court’s opinion found that surveillance conducted by the NSA under the FISA Amendments Act was unconstitutional and violated ‘the spirit of’ federal law.
Today, EFF can declare victory: a federal court ordered the government to release records in our litigation, the government has indicated it intends to release the opinion today, and ODNI has called a 3:00 ET press conference to discuss ‘issues’ with FISA Amendments Act surveillance, which we assume will include a discussion of the opinion…..
…In a press conference call on the newly declassified court opinion, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) revealed new information about the way the NSA treated what it calls “multi-communication transactions.” Such MCTs were at the heart of the illegal collection that went on from 2008 to 2011, resulting in wholesale collection of tens of thousands of domestic communications without a warrant. But what, exactly, is an MCT?
Responding to a question from New York Times journalist Charlie Savage, ODNI gave the following example of one type of MCT:
‘… there’s a certain kind of communication that is referred to in the opinion as a “multi-communication transaction,” where there are several communications bundled together. I can give you one example of that, but I really don’t want to talk in great detail because it can get into operational sensitivities.
One example of this is if you have a webmail email account, like Gmail or Hotmail or something like that, you know that when you go and you open up your email program, you will get a screenshot of some number of emails that are sitting in your inbox. In the case of my server, what I get is the date of the email, the sender, the subject line, and the size of the email message. But I may get 15 of them at one time.
Those are all transmitted across the Internet as one communication, even though there are 15 separate emails mentioned in them. And for technological reasons, NSA was not capable of breaking those down into their — and still is not capable — of breaking those down into their individual components….’
Reprinted with permission from Electronic Frontier Foundation.
In spite of NSA malfeasance, the FISA court was unable to rein in the NSA.
…A footnote on page 16 points out that the agency had “substantially misrepresented” the extent of its “major collection program” (including the harvesting of ‘internet transactions’) for the third time in less than three years. The same set of footnotes attacks the so-called ‘big business records’ collection, accusing the agency of using a ‘flawed depiction’ of how it used the data to basically fleece the FISA court since the program’s inception in 2006….
See, 2011 FISA Court Opinion ruling NSA surveillance illegal and unconstitutional (redacted) (pdf), https://www.eff.org/sites/default/files/filenode/fisc_opinion_-_unconstitutional_surveillance_0.pdf
The NSA, Barack Obama, Keith Alexander, James Clapper, Dianne Feinstein, to name a few lied and are still lying. Thus, it is up to the citizenry to reclaim the Fourth Amendment (for starters).
Furthermore, taking all of the above and what we have learned these past few months about the NSA spying on Americans into consideration how is it that the NSA is capable of tracking everyone’s communications and actions in the country but claims it is unable to track its own emails?
That being said, it is illegal, unconstitutional, an invasion of our privacies and unwelcome.
As for the FISA court, disband and defund it. They are useless.
Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation