FISA Amendments Act Minimization: Preventing Serious Harm to Corporate Persons

As I was working through some other things last night, I had an opportunity to compare the minimization standards for the FISA Amendments Act (see section h) with the standards under which the actual minimization procedures allow the retention of purely domestic communications (that is, between parties that are all within the United States). These procedures are in addition to procedures that affect foreign communications (with one of the participants a non-US person outside the US).

Last night, I suggested there were 3 “normal” standards and one that doesn’t appear in the law pertaining to cybersecurity and encrypted communications. But that’s not entirely right. The last standard in the actual law reads,

(4) notwithstanding paragraphs (1), (2), and (3), with respect to any electronic surveillance approved pursuant to section 1802 (a) of this title, procedures that require that no contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party shall be disclosed, disseminated, or used for any purpose or retained for longer than 72 hours unless a court order under section 1805 of this title is obtained or unless the Attorney General determines that the information indicates a threat of death or serious bodily harm to any person.

That is, the actual law allows retention of information for up to 72 hours (presumably to process, which is moot anyway, since they’re actually keeping this data 5 years), unless the court or the Attorney General says it must be kept longer because it pertains to threat of death of serious bodily harm.

But in the minimization standards themselves, here’s how that reads.

A communication identified as a domestic communication will be promptly destroyed upon recognition unless the Director (or Acting Director) of NSA specifically determines, in writing, that:

the communication contains information pertaining to a threat of serious harm to life or property. [my emphasis]

In plain language, the law seems to be about saving human lives. But in paragraphs marked Secret, the government has redefined threat of death or “serious bodily harm to any person” as “serious harm to life or property.”

And while it’s just a guess here, I’m guessing that they switched this language, protecting property, not people, to protect corporate people.

In any case, spying on entirely domestic communications to protect against threats entirely to property, not life, sure seems like a giant loophole in a program that is supposed to be focused exclusively on foreign intelligence.

Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Reddit0Share on Facebook0Google+2Email to someone

8 Responses to FISA Amendments Act Minimization: Preventing Serious Harm to Corporate Persons

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @onekade Not yet! That's old. CIA has prolly figured out a way around it.
45sreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @RupertStone83 I'd have to explain that one in detail. Very sketchy court docs, though.
1mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @theurbansherpa Would never happen. Then they'd actually "own" their disposable employees, no longer be able to dispose of them.
2mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @WeMeantWell: Report: Bribes to deliver US humanitarian aid in Syria helping fund ISIS. P.S. Also happening in Afghan, did in Iraq. http…
6mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @kashhill: I told him he should consider using a Google Voice number or a burner number/phone. Sheesh, terrorists be slipping.
6mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel .@kashhill harsh! "Jetsetting Terrorist planned to remain anonymous, but it turns out he’s not very good at op sec." http://t.co/U7vMHrX71w
11mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @theurbansherpa It has only arrived if you're losing.
14mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @emptywheel As he is not old enough to have been involved in WWII, no.
19mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @csoghoian: Had it not been for @ashk4n's reporting, doubtful Yahoo Mail would be using HTTPS by default as they have since January.
19mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel While I share Nagl's opinion we don't have "winning" strategy v ISIS, has he ever been involved in winning strategy? http://t.co/N94i0pqYu0
20mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @OKnox Has said COIN expert ever been involved in a "victory"?
22mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @JulieATate @mattapuzzo No kidding. Extremely rare for a jury to be out that long on anything. Will be fascinating to see their handiwork.
23mreplyretweetfavorite
June 2013
S M T W T F S
« May   Jul »
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30