Phone Slip

MadDog points out that the documents released through FOIA to EFF are available. These are documents, remember, relating to communications about the FISA amendment between DNI McConnell and Congress or representatives of telecom companies.

Declaration of what’s included

Document dump one

Document dump two

I’m reading through things now. But one thing is immediately apparent. There is almost no trace of any conversations between telecom companies and ODNI employees–there’s just one phone slip.

ODNI located one document that is potentially responsive to request number one. This document is a telephone message slip that contains the handwritten personal notes and mental impressions of an ODNI employee. This document is being withheld because it is not an agency record under FOIA. In addition, the documents qualifies to be withheld pursuant to FOIA exemptions 1,3,5 and 6.

Boy, those phone companies, they’re pretty careful, huh?

In case you’re wondering, here’s what those exemptions refer to:

(b)(1) EXEMPTION – Protects Classified Matters of National Defense or Foreign Policy
This exemption protects from disclosure national security information concerning the national defense or foreign policy, provided that it has been properly classified in accordance with the substantive and procedural requirements of an executive order.

(b)(3) EXEMPTION – Information Specifically Exempted by Other Statutes

This exemption incorporates the disclosure prohibitions that are contained in various other federal statutes. As originally enacted in 1966, Exemption 3 was broadly phrased so as to simply cover information "specifically exempted from disclosure by statute." The new Exemption 3 statute prohibits agencies from releasing under the FOIA any proposal "submitted by a contractor in response to the requirements of a solicitation for a competitive proposals," unless that proposal "is set forth or incorporated by reference in a contract entered into between the agency and the contractor that submitted the proposal."

(b)(5) EXEMPTION – Privileged Interagency or Intra-Agency Memoranda or Letters<

This exemption protects "inter-agency or intra-agency memorandums of letters which would not be available by law to a party …in litigation with the agency." As such, it has been construed to "exempt those documents, and only those documents, normally privileged in the civil discovery context."

(b)(6) EXEMPTION – Personal Information Affecting an Individual’s Privacy

This exemption permits the government to withhold all information about individuals in "personnel and medical files and similar files" when the disclosure of such information " would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy." This exemption cannot be invoked to withhold from a requester information pertaining to the requester.

I wonder whose "mental impressions" are considered national defense information?

  1. Leen says:

    “The Attorney General shall assess compliance with such procedures and shall report such assessments to the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives and the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate under section 108 (a)”

    They seem to have missed a few steps in following these procedures.

  2. JohnLopresti says:

    I noticed part of the 204pp draft law seems to exempt odni from future foia requests; also there is a paring of oversight by congress, a suggestion to omit public version of some reports; and the outside contractor issue has coverage. Seems lots in there. Finding draft legislation even in congress is difficult. There was an early internet era dustup over making draft laws more available to the public instead of to the select few who had lobbyists in the capitol to obtain markups, in one state in which I worked at some of these interfaces; in fact EFF’s early founders were involved in leading the legislature to helping that happen. But I need to read more in the first set, as well.

  3. Leen says:

    So under the present law they have to get a court order if they are conducting electronic surveillance on two foreign persons?

  4. JodiDog says:

    So to evade the law, the phone companies resort to such low tech methods as hand written communications.

    Dastardly rascals! Employing such underhanded primitive tools.

  5. MadDog says:

    Well EW, after reading through all the latest DNI/ODNI document dump, most of it appears to be garbage. Stuff like the Administration’s 200+ page draft of the PPA.

    The only good bits that surfaced were as you mentioned that Phone Slip that will never be seen in public, and the nugget I mentioned in your “We’re not getting the FISA opinions” post” which I’ll reprise here:

    From part one of the ODNI documents, a Mikey McConnell – DNI letter to the chair and ranking memmber of the HIC dated June 8th, 2007:

    We understand the Committee’s desire to obtain certain documents relating to the President’s Terrorist Surveillance Program and we will continue to work with you to address your needs. However, some of the documents requested by the Committee such as the President’s authorizations of the Program are not within my discretion to provide. This is also the case with the Executive Branch legal opinions and any potentially responsive communications with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. These documents currently are the subject of an ongoing discussion within the Executive Branch.

    My takeaway on the bolded part is that the WH refuses to provide Congress the “the President’s authorizations of the Program” because the said authorization is for far more programs, activities and actions that with certainty the public knows about, and tis highly probable that it is also much more than the Congress knows about.

    Plus these “unmentionables” are also likely against the law.

  6. JohnLopresti says:

    Wonder if any of the candidates campaigning participated in briefings on draft PAA between their live sessions at yK that week just before congress passed the sunsetted version of it. Some candidates had a tight schedule for appearance length there.

  7. wavpeac says:

    What’s primitive is skirting the american public and the very foundation of democracy. It’s kinda like Bushco and the teleco’s went back to the days of King George. (they forgot about the constitution and the bill of rights.) Now that’s primitive!!!