Filed Date: 2008
Closed Date: Aug. 22, 2008
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On January 17, 2014, the Director of National Intelligence authorized the declassification and public release of numerous orders approving the National Security Agency's ("NSA") so-called "Bulk Telephony Metadata Program" under Section 501 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 ("FISA"), commonly referred to as Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act. Press release available here.
Under the program, the NSA has collected records from large telecommunication companies about, apparently, virtually all domestic telephone calls. These records, termed "telephony metadata," include the phone numbers placed and received; the date, time and duration of calls; some location identifiers; and calling card numbers. The records, however, apparently do not include the parties' names, addresses or financial information or the call's content. Once collected, the records are stored for several years and may be queried, used, and disseminated only in accordance with "minimization rules" proposed by the government and approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ("FISC"). The most basic aspect of the minimization rules has been that the metadata records can be queried when there is a reasonable suspicion, based on specific and articulated facts, that the identifier that will be used as the basis for the query is associated with specified foreign terrorist organizations.
The program began under executive authority alone, following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Subsequently, in 2006, the federal government first sought approval of the program from the FISC under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act. This Section 215 order must be reviewed and reapproved by the FISC essentially every 90 days. It has been approved dozens of times by many different federal judges, on the FISC, since its initial approval on May 24, 2006 by the FISC. (See BR 06-05).
This particular Section 215 order was granted by FISC Judge James B. Zagel on June 26, 2008. As usual, this order includes "minimization" procedures that impose a variety of limits on the NSA's use of the telephony metadata. The minimization procedures enumerated in this order are the same as the previous order with one exception. Specifically, this order shortened the authorization period to approximately 60 days compared to the previous order (BR 08-04) that had an authorization period of approximately 90 days. Therefore, certain reviews of the program had to be done prior to the expiration of the authorization period rather than within 90 days.
The authorization expired on August 22, 2008, at 5:00 p.m.
The order in this matter was succeeded by BR 08-08.
Michael Mirdamadi (2/15/2014)
Zagel, James Block (Illinois)
Zagel, James Block (Illinois)
Last updated Aug. 30, 2023, 3:10 p.m.Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.
State / Territory: District of Columbia
Filing Date: 2008
Closing Date: Aug. 22, 2008
Case Ongoing: No
U.S. Government, proceeding by an application by the FBI, on behalf of the NSA
Public Interest Lawyer: Yes
Filed Pro Se: No
Class Action Sought: No
Class Action Outcome: Not sought
Causes of Action:
Prevailing Party: Plaintiff
Nature of Relief:
Source of Relief:
Order Duration: 2008 - 2008
Content of Injunction: