December 18, 2013 / by emptywheel


Turns Out, Committee to Make You Love the Dragnet Soured on the Dragnet

Here’s their report, which I’ll have far more to say about.

But one-third of the way in, I’ve decided to do a working thread. Will fill in my earlier observations later. (Page numbers are to document page numbers, not PDF.)

(90) Report says most of the 21,000 NSLs issued in FY2012 were issued for subscriber information. I’m not sure we knew that. It also coincides with the move of the Internet dragnet overseas, and may be related.

(97) Report says 215 collects “only a small percentage” of total telephone metadata. This seems to conflict w/statement that they collect “substantially all.”2

(97) Report confirms Internet metadata tured off in 2009 and back on in 2010, as reported here.

(125-7) You get the feeling the Group is not all that critical of Snowden. Note reference to disclosing “unwise or even unlawful govt programs” and that whistleblower laws don’t apply to contractors. Also note the discussion of spying on journalists.

(128) Note the suggestion that govt numbers might not be accurate:

Reports from providers can be a useful supplement to reports from the government—the existence of multiple sources of information reduces the risk of inaccurate reporting by any one source.

(131) Note they define foreign power in the terms of the 3 categories I think are available for FAA: CT, CP, and Cyber

(135) The discussion of FAA 703-5 (not named as such) is more specific than some claims I’ve gotten from the WH.

(136) The report is consistent with my belief that FAA only used for CT, CP, and cyber.

(141) Report’s discussion of the 2011 problem refers to problems in the plural, suggesting there have been others. Also note he calls that inadvertent collection; that’s not what Bates said.

(144-5) This seems to suggest that all 54 “thwarted” plots involve some 702 component, including Moalin (though MOalin would have been PAA). That makes sense, but they haven’t illustrated that side of things.

(148) Note they don’t include the “threat to property” in their summary of minimization procedures.

(149) Note the complaint about the definition of foreign intelligence value.

(152) Report again says 702 is limited, potentially to just CT, CP, and cyber

(154) This is a remarkable sentiment, but I’m not sure it holds:

As an aside, we note that the very existence of these protections in the United States can help promote and preserve democratic accountability across the globe. In light of the global influence of the United States, any threat to effective democracy in the United States could have negative and far-reaching consequences in other nations as well. By helping to maintain an effective system of checks and balances within the United States, the special protections that FISA affords United States persons can therefore contribute to sustaining democratic ideals abroad.

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