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 @brahmresnik @LarrySabato It always has been, despite flaky polls.
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bmaz @maassive I do not think the deadline is the entire law. You also have to consider breadth and enforceability.
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bmaz .@GregMitch In a single series, Bumgarner doesn't even top Bob Gibson in 1967. May not beat Gibson overall either.
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JimWhiteGNV RT @SIGARHQ: Deeply troubled that ISAF classified summary of report that assesses Afghan security forces capabilities http://t.co/a2blhSrdVz
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emptywheel Can someone explain why Mike Allen thinks McCain would get SASC, when Inhofe is Ranking? http://t.co/NKUm1X5zMB
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bmaz @armandodkos @emptywheel And, if other things equal, I don't relish Cornyn/Cruz over McConnell necessarily
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bmaz @armandodkos @emptywheel I'd be happy for McConnell to lose (think odds slim of that tho); just think such a loss doesn't change much.
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emptywheel @armandodkos Not true that it hurts on nothing else. Inhofe, Burr, in particular, concern me. @bmaz @sahilkapur
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emptywheel Congratulations, "public," You're now just like China in DOD's eyes. http://t.co/t9Hjd221sQ Hackers too, but we already knew that.
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bmaz @emptywheel @armandodkos @sahilkapur ...get deals cut if he wants them, or people that will never deal?
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bmaz @emptywheel @armandodkos @sahilkapur Would you rather have a Majority Leader that is at least capable of making deals+has discipline to...
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bmaz @nickmartin She should be. Ebola is scary, but there is simply no factual basis as to her case. America needs to stiffen its spine a bit.
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