Case: In re Application of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for an Order Requiring the Production of Tangible Things from [redacted], FISA Docket BR 14-166

14-00166 | U.S. District Court for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court

Filed Date: 2014

Closed Date: 2015

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

For the Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse collection of FISA matters, see our special collection.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. Und…

For the Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse collection of FISA matters, see our special collection.

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, NS-DC-0009 in this Clearinghouse.)

This matter is a continuation of the Section 215 program from December 4, 2014, to February 27, 2015. On December 4, 2014, FISC Judge Michael W. Mosman issued the primary order authorizing the collection under specified procedures. The previous order was BR 14-125, NS-DC-0067 in this Clearinghouse. 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 those in the previous order, with one exception:

In a footnote, the FISC recognized that in cases involving an imminent threat to human life the NSA may bypass the technical controls it has implemented in order to conduct queries using RAS-approved seeds. Previous FISC orders acknowledged that the NSA's technical controls preclude any query for intelligence analysis purposes with a non-RAS-approved seed, but the orders omitted any mention of the exception for cases involving imminent threats.

The order in this matter was succeeded by BR 15-24, NS-DC-0070 in this Clearinghouse.

Summary Authors

Brian Tengel (2/15/2015)

Related Cases

In re Application of the FBI for an Order Requiring the Production of Tangible Things from [Redacted]. FISA Docket BR 14-125, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (2014)

People


Judge(s)

Mosman, Michael W. (Oregon)

Judge(s)

Mosman, Michael W. (Oregon)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Primary Order

In re Application of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for an Order Requiring the Production of Tangible Things from [redacted] FISA Docket BR 14-166

Dec. 4, 2014 Order/Opinion

Resources

Title Description External URL

Guest Post: New Resource — Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse FISA Archives

Margo Schlanger

Obviously there have been load of disclosures about FISA matters over the past year—between the Snowden documents, the FOIA-driven ODNI declassifications, the FISA Court’s nifty new on-line docket, a… June 26, 2014 http://justsecurity.org/...

Docket

Last updated May 11, 2022, 8 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: District of Columbia

Case Type(s):

National Security

Special Collection(s):

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act -- All Matters

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act -- Telephony Metadata

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court

Key Dates

Filing Date: 2014

Closing Date: 2015

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

U.S. Government, proceeding by an application by the FBI, on behalf of the NSA.

Plaintiff Type(s):

U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Case Details

Causes of Action:

FISA Title V order (PATRIOT Act § 215, business records or other tangible things), 50 U.S.C. §§ 1861-1862

Constitutional Clause(s):

Unreasonable search and seizure

Availably Documents:

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Order Duration: 2014 - 2015

Content of Injunction:

Warrant/order for search or seizure

Reporting

Recordkeeping

Monitoring

Issues

General:

Record-keeping

Records Disclosure

Search policies

Terrorism/Post 9-11 issues