Ashcroft, Comey, Goldsmith, and Baker: “All” Is the “Best” Reading of “Relevant”

Four MusketeersTowards the end of the Memorandum of Law in support of the Internet dragnet — which was signed by those guys ———-> — DOJ makes a claim that its reading of “relevant” to mean “almost all” was the best possible reading.

Here, by contrast, reading the term “relevant” to permit the collection of this critical information during wartime is a construction rooted in the text that requires no stretching of the ordinary meaning of the terms of the statute at all. In fact, for all the reasons outlined above, interpreting section 402 to authorize the collection the Government has requested in the best reading of the plain terms of the Act.

This is why you should not have secret courts.

I get making an aggressive push to authorize dragnet surveillance.

I get mining old and foreign dictionaries to come up with a definition that suits your needs.

But after you’ve made your best ditch effort to stretch the meaning of words, secretly, beyond all recognition, don’t then, secretly, pat yourself on the back pretending that wasn’t the game you just pulled.

But hey. Who’s the chump? After all, we now know that Misters Ashcroft, Comey, Goldsmith, and Baker pulled this off.

Yet no one is making any effort to put the English language back on some kind of sane footing. Nothing in any of the “reform” efforts before Congress attempts to put sanity back into the word “relevant.”

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5 Responses to Ashcroft, Comey, Goldsmith, and Baker: “All” Is the “Best” Reading of “Relevant”

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz Golly, who could have expected another systemic problem with the FBI Crime Lab? https://t.co/67DC9e9PS4
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bmaz @TerryOlson Yes, very seriously.
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bmaz @tomcollinsaz Excellent call.
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bmaz Have to say, the Phoenix Police Department has done a remarkable job today and tonight at the #PHxMosque site.
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bmaz @Nick_Hentoff Yep, exactly.
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JimWhiteGNV Definitely the food highlight of our trip. Terrific dinner tonight @BandarSanDiego
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bmaz @Nick_Hentoff Jeebus, I've not only never heard of that atty, I don't think I've heard of anybody in his firm either. Had it about right tho
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emptywheel @normative Sorry if you interpret me treating McConnell as the adversary as a dis. Stay on target. @NathanielDWhite
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emptywheel @NathanielDWhite I certainly could do a longer response but I have higher priorities over next 2 days. @normative
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emptywheel @NathanielDWhite The Medium one?Didn't write it, but short version is it only makes sense if ACLU & corporations have no lawyers @normative
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emptywheel @sjgloria Sure. But let's be clear. They're running a hate rally, not a protest.
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