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FISA Court Will Release More Opinions Because of Snowden 179

Posted by Soulskill
from the because-the-world-needs-more-heavily-redacted-documents dept.
cold fjord sends this news from the Washington Post: "Call it the Edward Snowden effect: Citing the former NSA contractor, a federal judge has ordered the government to declassify more reports from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. In an opinion from the FISC itself, Judge F. Dennis Saylor on Friday told the White House to declassify all the legal opinions relating to Section 215 of the Patriot Act written after May 2011 that aren't already the subject of FOIA litigation. The court ruled (PDF) that the White House must identify the opinions in question by Oct. 4. 'The unauthorized disclosure of in June 2013 of a Section 215 order, and government statements in response to that disclosure, have engendered considerable public interest and debate about Section 215,' wrote Saylor. 'Publication of FISC opinions relating to this opinion would contribute to an informed debate.' The ruling comes in response to a petition by the American Civil Liberties Union seeking greater government transparency. But because the ACLU already has a similar FOIA case pending in another court, Saylor wrote that the new FISC order can only cover documents that don't relate to that case." Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said that Snowden's information leaks started conversations that should have happened a long time ago. Also, the privacy reform panel created by President Obama met for the first time earlier this week. It did not discuss the NSA's surveillance activities. [Two attendees of the Monday meeting said the discussion was dominated by the interests of major technology firms, and the session did not address making any substantive changes to the controversial mass collection of Americans' phone data and foreigners' internet communications, which can include conversations with Americans."
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FISA Court Will Release More Opinions Because of Snowden

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 15, 2013 @07:29AM (#44855281)

    'nuff said.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Congress needs to impeach Obama.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 15, 2013 @07:58AM (#44855401)

        Congress needs to impeach Obama.

        Who do you think gave the Executive branch (NSA is part of that) the power via the Patriot Act to do this horseshit?

        And you do honestly think it was the Obama Administration who got this shit going?

        And don't get me started on why Obama kept it going, though, because I'll be vomiting "Hope And Change".

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Congress needs to impeach Obama.

          Who do you think gave the Executive branch (NSA is part of that) the power via the Patriot Act to do this horseshit?

          And you do honestly think it was the Obama Administration who got this shit going?

          And don't get me started on why Obama kept it going, though, because I'll be vomiting "Hope And Change".

          Well Congress would need to impeach itself. But that is something they can't do. So the only realistic option is to set free those motherfuckers and elect other politicians that will do the interest of the american people. And that means voting third party. It means not voting democrat or republican at the local level. It means start from the base and then go up to the top. It means get yourself interested in politics and do away with that stupid attitude of "nothing can ever change".

        • by noh8rz10 (2716597)

          i don't understand this viewpoint. it's like a kneejerk reaction to protect obama or shift blame. so, the govt was doing unconstitutional practice 'A' when he entered office. He had to choose between eliminating 'A' (as would be his job under the constitution) or going balls-in with 'A++'. He chose the latter, and I think he should be impeached for it. This has nothing to do with Bush or Congress, it's an evaluation of his actions.

      • by FridayBob (619244) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @09:20AM (#44855755) Homepage
        Although I voted for him twice, I agree. Since 2008 he has become less like the man of hope that was first voted into office and more like the man he replaced. In some ways, he's even worse. However, Congress will never impeach him, because as far as his impeachable offenses are concerned, the majority on both sides of the isle actually approves of that behavior. They are two sides of the same coin, working only for their donors while they play good cop/bad cop with the rest of us. The only solution I know of is: http://www.wolf-pac.com/ [wolf-pac.com]
      • by Anonymous Coward

        It's called checks and balances. Congress can share just as much blame for this mess as Obama is.

        If Congress, the republicans anyways, weren't so focused on trying to repeal Obamacare, half of this crap would have actually seen the light of day.

        And the other half, Democrats, have been soaking up donor dollars for the DOJ while DHS and ICE implement absurd IP, and draconian drug efforts.

        Plenty of blame to go around here, across all manner of topics. The lot of elected politicians we have right now really doe

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jodido (1052890)
        And replace him with who? Has there ever been a president who didn't break any number of laws when it came to defending the basic interests of the US ruling class?
      • by Nyder (754090)

        Congress needs to impeach Obama.

        The Congress & Senate need to impeach themselves also for allowing this to happen during their watch.

    • Charge him and if the court finds him guilty then pardon him. It has been done before, just look to George W. Bush for guidance https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_pardoned_by_George_W._Bush [wikipedia.org]
      • by rolfwind (528248) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @08:23AM (#44855489)

        just look to George W. Bush for guidance

        Please don't.

        Just pardon him and stop wasting government time and taxpayer money and frivolous dog and pony shows.

        • by dkf (304284)

          just look to George W. Bush for guidance

          Please don't.

          Just pardon him and stop wasting government time and taxpayer money and frivolous dog and pony shows.

          You want a pardon issued to George W. Bush?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Do you think they'll get around to a trial quicker than they've done for Manning or Hasan?

        "You'll only be in solitary confinement for 3 or 4 years, followed by a nice quick trial. After the guilty verdict and sentencing, whoever's in office then will pardon you and you'll be free-as-a-bird.

        Trust us, we're lawyers from the government."

        That's your plan? Good luck with that.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        There is absolutely no reasonable question that what Snowden did was illegal. In fact, there's little if any question that what he did at least borders on treason. However, that doesn't make it wrong. Courts rarely allow that to decide a verdict (pretty much only in a constitutional case, which this simply isn't), and unless the law changes drastically, Snowden would be a fool to come back to the US without a signed pardon in hand.

        Courts don't decide if what someone did was right or wrong morally, they deci

      • by sumdumass (711423)

        "It has been done before, just look to most of the recent presidents for guidance"

        FTFY

        It's been done by a lot of presidents. The pardon is probably one of the most powerful tools a president has and on their way out, it is often used liberally.

    • Not really (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Arker (91948) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @08:22AM (#44855483) Homepage

      Obama is hardly going to pardon someone that outed his own criminal behaviour.

      But what should be happening is a special prosecutor. Snowden would be easy to get back in the country, just give him immunity. I am sure he would be happy to come back and testify in a real court about the crimes he has knowledge of.

      • And Congress's behavior and Bush's Behavior.....Fuck em all.

        • by slick7 (1703596)

          And Congress's behavior and Bush's Behavior.....Fuck em all.

          Why? Aren't there enough of those bastards around already? Why breed more?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      What makes anyone think that Snowden would want to be pardoned? To come back to America? Fuck people, Snowden came to the understanding that all that America is now, is a corporate prison-camp, where the government is simply there to act as both a corporate litigator, and a regulator for the workers, aka 'the people'. Laws (in America) are no longer things that keep the peace for The People, but rather act as walls for a society where the rich get to walk on one side, and 'the people' have to stay on the

    • by tlambert (566799)

      Actually what would be a lot more useful would be to have a process in place for the American public to pardon people it wants pardoned, and damn what the politcos want if they chose to pardon someone or a class of someones. That would act as a big check on abuse of power by people holding public office.

      For example, I'd likely vote to pardon Snowden, all non-violent drug offenders, and almost everyone engaged in a consensual crime, or those currently incarcerated for a crime for which the law has since bee

    • The Nobel committee needs to give him a peace prize first.

    • Were this to actually happen, I still wouldn't be the least bit surprised if he were to fall victim to an unfortunate "accident" upon his return to America.
      • by slick7 (1703596)

        Were this to actually happen, I still wouldn't be the least bit surprised if he were to fall victim to an unfortunate "accident" upon his return to America.

        ... or to collect his Nobel prize. FTFY

  • Dear Edward, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 15, 2013 @07:31AM (#44855293)

    Thank you for your service.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Dear Edward,
      Thank you for your service.

      And Dear Mr. Clapper,
      Compartmentalization is good for security, but if things are so compartmentalized that nobody in your organization knows whether it's committing crimes or not, you need to re-read your history. It's not a defense to say you only put people onto transportation, unaware of the destination. It's not a defense to say you only drove a trains, unaware of its destination. It's not a defense to say you only processed prisoners, unaware of their source.

  • by AHuxley (892839) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @07:40AM (#44855327) Homepage Journal
    or other comments about the data sets been too big or not for domestic use are now history.
    Snowden has moved the crypto debate into the 21C and lets hope the next generation of students and professors learn something about trusting their codes and the hardware 'offered'.
    Skilled US legal teams will start talking with academics and law makers. Overtime more will become clear and the rest of the world can start thinking about the products they import or who they trust data to.
  • Public interest (Score:5, Insightful)

    by markdavis (642305) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @07:57AM (#44855395)

    >" 'The unauthorized disclosure of in June 2013 of a Section 215 order, and government statements in response to that disclosure, have engendered considerable public interest and debate about Section 215,' "

    Well, yeah, amazing isn't it? That is the way a democracy is SUPPOSED to work. It DOESN'T work properly when tons of things are all held in secret.

    I suspect that at least half what is currently kept secret from the public is unnecessarily secret. And probably much more than half of what is left could at least be shared with Congress committees.

    • Re:Public interest (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mcgrew (92797) * on Sunday September 15, 2013 @08:36AM (#44855543) Homepage Journal

      I suspect that at least half what is currently kept secret from the public is unnecessarily secret. And probably much more than half of what is left could at least be shared with Congress committees.

      Congress, all of it, and the Senate, too, should be informed of what the executive branch does. Withholding information about the government itself from legislators is irrational.

      • Re:Public interest (Score:4, Informative)

        by markdavis (642305) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @09:28AM (#44855795)

        >"Congress, all of it, and the Senate, too, should be informed of what the executive branch does. Withholding information about the government itself from legislators is irrational."

        Although I totally agree with you, the Senate and the House of Representatives are both parts of Congress. :)

    • by Pav (4298)

      Clapper has lied through his teeth many times before. Can anyone say this is any less false and self serving?

      “Espionage is illegal and the clandestine service’s job is to break those laws without being caught. Espionage is deceptive, covert, underhand. It is probably the second oldest profession in the world.” This is a quote by Justice Robert Hope from his "Hope Report". This was released after Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam instigated a Royal Commission into the Australian se

      • No doubt the CIA would want the conservatives to win over Whitlam. However, I was at HS when Whitlam was elected, there's no doubt he has left many admirable legacies, not the least of those being cheap effective UHC. IMHO he lost that election because he stopped talking about his agenda, he assumed voters were as outraged as he was and would rise up to correct the "injustice". What he should have done is call the election himself when it was clear there was a double dissolution. It was a strategic blunder
        • by Pav (4298)
          Lefties can get a bit too hung up on fair play. I think Paul Keating had the best compromise... I heard in an interview with someone who had to negotiate with him that Keating had said a little apologetically "...just letting you know before we start that no matter what happens I'm here to win". That earned respect, at least from this one person who had sat across the table from him during feirce political combat.
    • by naasking (94116)

      I suspect that at least half what is currently kept secret from the public is unnecessarily secret.

      I suspect much more. The past two administrations have classified more documents than all previous administrations combined.

      • by Smallpond (221300)

        But look at all the people who have been reprimanded or jailed for classifying documents that should remain open to the public.

        Oh, there aren't any.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 15, 2013 @07:57AM (#44855397)

    having these conversations (referring to Clapper) when he was the one actively LYING about the extent of activities under his jurisdiction.

    So: We should be having these conversations, but I actively lied about it to avoid having these conversations.

    My general experience is when people are lying about things in response to very direct questions, they're usually doing it to hide activities that they know they shouldn't be doing.

  • Compartmentalize (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 15, 2013 @08:16AM (#44855471)

    General Alexander's games only work because he can tell one story to one group of people, and another story to another.

    The 5 eye allies get to see intelligence from abroad and don't see the surveillance of their own people, their companies and their politicians, and so think they are 'special', not spied up, protected and private, even as they spy on their own people for the NSA.

    The FISA court was told stories about how NSA was using its warrants and how essential those warrants were. I suspect FISC never authorized storage of everything. Rather it probably authorized collection of everything, filtering out just the terrorist related and storing of that. But once General Alexander had access to all the data, he didn't need to throw it away, because FISC would never know he kept it and who is powerful enough to stop him?

    Dianne Feinstein, seems to have been told all manner of court orders are needed and the data has never been abused (she said it as though she believed it). Perhaps she was shown snippets of terrorist info, and the occasional tip about her political rivals, but never shown her own record, or all the abuse of data stories, or the surveillance of ordinary Americans for reasons other than terrorism.

    Obama was told all sorts of warrants are needed, and kept talking about telephone calls, as if that was the limit of the surveillance. To tap a US telephone, its done by computer request, and apparently a very large portion of US calls are routinely recorded without a warrant. They only need a warrant if they decide they need a warrant after listening and concluding both parties are American. But who would know if they didn't flag it? No one. General Alexander says only 300 selectors in 2012 were searched, yet the NSA 'auditor' says 20 million searches a month against the big database.

    David Cameron was probably told only the terrorist data is filtered out of the UK feed and then the rest thrown away. But it isn't, it's kept and handed to Israel on presumably others. Used for commercial and political surveillance, there's no special relationship with 5 eyes, only 4 idiots deluding themselves and betraying their countries.

    DEA thinks it's given hot tips in secret, which is why it needs to cover up the source, in reality it could well be party to falsify a crime, or covering an entrapment, or coercion. Who knows!? Because the evidence is never examined, instead a false cover story is examined in court.

    Each party thinks THEY are not being spied on and only get to see OTHER people's data. General Alexander plays a very compartmentalized game to keep it so. As the FISC court saw the leaks, so it see that the FISA warrants don't correspond to the reality and want them released.

    If you've done nothing wrong you have nothing to hide. But 'wrong' in the free world is supposed to mean 'illegal' not 'upset someone powerful'. The courts are there to protect people and if they did that, and the NSA ignored the court and did its own thing, then its time we knew. FISC court is happy to let people see what it authorized, so let see how the reality and the warrants correspond.

    • "If you've done nothing wrong you have nothing to hide."

      That only works if you know what's wrong, and I'm not talking about obvious wrongs like killing people or stealing candy from a baby. With the mountain of laws that are in the books, the only way not to be a criminal is to stay at home and stop communicating with the outside world (no jaywalking, no libel, no copyright infringement). Assuming you can survive on the food you've hoarded, even that might not work. Who knows what health, tax or community l

  • by Pav (4298) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @08:26AM (#44855501)
    After the Snowden revelations about security standards subversion I've been casting fresh eyes over the state of OSS security - parts are truly dismal. It may or may not actually be related to the NSA, that's immaterial really, but things are waaaay overcomplicated and flawed. For example, standard "wisdom" on OpenLDAP configuration is to never verify client side certificates, and I haven't seen anyone suggest specifying a olcTLSDHParamFile (which is required for perfect forward security). The whole idea of negotiating both encrypted and non-encrypted connections over one port is flawed - not only can a small configuration error cause all traffic to be suddenly in the clear, but a misconfigured client will send passwords in the clear no matter how locked down the server end is (although of course they won't connect successfully). OSS needs to get back to the Unix philosophy of keeping things simple... but it's in large players interests (be they big businesses or NSA or ???) to keep things so complicated the weekend hacker can no longer stay secure let alone make a useful contribution.
  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @09:36AM (#44855841)

    Two attendees of the Monday meeting said the discussion was dominated by the interests of major technology firms

    Fancy that.

  • by MysteriousPreacher (702266) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @09:57AM (#44855967) Journal

    FISA Court Will Release More Opinions Because of Snowden?

    Nope. Any releases will be made as part of the administration's drive to increase transparency while retaining the tools needed to protect against the terrorists. It's not coming because of public pressure or legal challenges. No siree, not like last time:

    https://www.eff.org/mention/obama-administration-dishonestly-wants-public-believe-it-voluntarily-declassified-secret-nsa [eff.org]

    This time they'll be truthy. We can be certain of course that this information would have been released even if Snowden hadn't kicked-off this shit-storm. After all, isn't this the most transparent administration, with unprecedented levels of openness? Must be true - it says it on the White House site:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/TransparencyandOpenGovernment [whitehouse.gov]

  • Edward Snowden is like Santa Claus! He know whether you've been good or bad, and the presents just keep coming like clockwork!

  • No Credibility (Score:4, Insightful)

    by The_Star_Child (2660919) on Sunday September 15, 2013 @10:16AM (#44856099)
    The problem is that the government has no credibility. How do we know what they release are the real documents? And they can still [redact] it to the point of uselessness.

With all the fancy scientists in the world, why can't they just once build a nuclear balm?

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