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
emptywheel @billmon1 Does hitting on a high school wrestler count as moral turpitude bc that's not allowed anymore.
emptywheel @ncweaver Also, one of most interesting things fr FISC docs: WHAT they were asking for fr Yahoo changed a lot bt 8/07 & 1/08 @SteveBellovin
emptywheel RT @WALLACHLEGAL: Other class claims brought against @FanDuel and @DraftKings incl. violation of consumer protection act, false advertising…
emptywheel @SteveBellovin Yahoo been fluctuating wildly (27K to 51K) since Snowden @ncweaver
emptywheel @SteveBellovin Hmm. I'm talking 2nd half 2014 data. Yahoo 42K, Google 15K @ncweaver
emptywheel @zmanian I think post-Safe Harbor reformers need to go after 12333 anyway. @ncweaver @SteveBellovin
emptywheel @ncweaver But while we're talking Yahoo, any idea what Yahoo would have 45K PRISM requests and Google 1/3 of that? @SteveBellovin
JimWhiteGNV You get to say no to being Speaker. And YOU get to say no to being speaker. Everyone gets to say no to being Speaker.
emptywheel @ncweaver Basically one more way a USP might get collected (US overseas under 12333 had already been argued at length) @SteveBellovin
emptywheel @ncweaver There was a weird allegedly late issue at FISCR could have been something like that, but I don't think that was it @SteveBellovin
emptywheel @grumpybozo Right. You ever seen Johnson and Courser in the same room at same time?
JimWhiteGNV It's a shame that DraftKings and FanDuel are in such a scandal. It just occurred to me that Pete Rose should be spox for one or both.
August 2014
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