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 @jackgillum @AP @etuckerAP Good work guys.
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emptywheel RT @Ali_H_Soufan: Do you recall 1st group of US trained rebels recently entered into Syria from Turkey? Well, they have been kidnapped alle…
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emptywheel RT @BFriedmanDC: Palmer's club, Safari Club International, donates thousands to GOP candidates. #CecilTheLion http://t.co/ZWgR8aIu9u http:/…
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emptywheel @BaFana3 The "America's bad, terror-supporting allies," is easy. Anyone who made a big enough stink abt Iran "peace" deal gets free bombs.
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bmaz RT @nancyleong: Cops have taser, pepper spray, baton, other tools for self defense. If the gun is step one, there's no step two. #SamDubose
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emptywheel @pastordan No, I didn't. Yick. Grouchy.
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emptywheel @pastordan Grouchy CCD ladies, significantly. Then Benedict gave me an excuse never to set foot (I've reversed under Francis).
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emptywheel @p2wy But now you have the Bayless Torta app that will make OHare less intolerable.
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emptywheel @AaronBlakeWP Gender segregated rooms are bad enough for me. I was cohabiting w/boys in a purely platonic fashion at that age (whatever age)
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emptywheel @GregTBasta He's prolly happy he won't have the solid left of ACORN when he becomes Leader.
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emptywheel @KailiJoy With your father? ;p
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emptywheel @adamjohnsonNYC Well, paper in a file is much larger, much more detailed, and automated, and then the rest of us are hanging as potentials
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