Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Visit Pee-Clob

The first panel of an all-day Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board hearing on Section 702 of FISA just finished.

It featured NSA General Counsel Raj De, ODNI General Counsel Robert Litt, Deputy AAG for National Security Brad Weigmann, and FBI General Counsel James Baker.

While there were a number of interesting disclosures — which I’ll get at in the future — the most striking aspect of the hearing was the tooth-pulling effort to get the panel to define the terms they use.

There were a slew of terms defined, among others including “minimization,” “bulk collection,” “PRISM,”

But the most interesting redefinitions were for “purge” and “search.”

After much tooth-pulling, James Dempsey got De to admit that NSA’s definition of the word “search” is different from the one used in the Fourth Amendment. Actually, that may not be entirely true: Sometimes the actual collection of data counts as a search, sometimes only the querying of it does. NSA gets to decide which is which, best as I can tell, in secret or in legal filings where it will serve to deprive someone of standing.

Then there’s “purge,” which I can’t hear anymore without seeing a pink speech bubble and scare quotes surrounding the word. Purge does not mean — as you might expect — “destroy.” Rather, it means only “remove from NSA systems in such a way that it cannot be used.” Which, best as I understand it, means they’re not actually destroying this data.

I do hope EFF figures that out before they argue the protection order for Section 215 today, as on those terms it seems increasingly clear NSA is not complying with the Jewel protection order.

“Purge.” To keep. Somewhere else.

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9 Responses to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Visit Pee-Clob

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @normative Yet more evidence someone is undercutting her. Also yet another exhibit in "ISIL dangerously better at propaganda than we are."
bmaz @gideonstrumpet Yep. Hard to blame them though, this GJ has been a sham.
emptywheel @Robyn_Greene Actually, what'd be worth doing is culling the questions and pointing to unclass discussion of these things. Cause they are.
bmaz @JeffreyToobin ..really was two days. I'll bet no more than few hours of real deliberation time. They know where going by time get to delibs
bmaz @JeffreyToobin ..but my experience is GJ deliberations usually shockingly brief, irrespective of presentation time. I'll be shocked if...
emptywheel I Con the Record: Ask Me Anything Banal, not at Reddit.
emptywheel @Krhawkins5 Yeah. I think over-vetting has been true from start. Hard to stay credible when they make her sound like nursery school teacher
bmaz @JeffreyToobin Watching you on CNN, good stuff. My one question is you keep saying 2 days long GJ deliberation given scope of presentation
bmaz @Whtapl @ArthurDelaneyHP Well, hard to believe, but kudos if so!
emptywheel Wonder whether this I Con the Record event is an event planned by Bob Litt to discredit NSA CLPD.
emptywheel @Krhawkins5 Bonus points for a another great question that won't be answered @Robyn_Greene @bartongellman
emptywheel @csoghoian I took that as a non-denial denial about Tumblr, not a real answer abt NSA.
March 2014
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