Case: In re Application of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for an Order Requiring the Production of Tangible Things [FISA Docket Misc. 14-01]

14-00001 | Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court

Filed Date: 2014

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.)

The particular Section 215 order at issue in this case was granted by FISC Judge Mary A. McLaughlin on October 11, 2013, authorizing the Section 215 program until January 3, 2014. The order can be found in BR 13-158, NS-DC-0018 in this Clearinghouse. After the order issued, the Center for National Security Studies filed a motion to establish a public briefing schedule, to submit an amicus curiae brief, and to suggest a hearing before the full FISC. On December 18, 2013, the Court (Judge McLaughlin) granted the Center's motion to file an amicus brief on why FISA Section 501 does not authorize the bulk collection of telephony metadata records, but it denied all other requests. The Court directed the Center to file its amicus brief in this Miscellaneous Docket 14-01 in order to ensure that other FISC judges have access to the brief when considering future applications for metadata collection.

On April 3, 2014, the Center filed a motion in this docket asking the FISC for permission to submit a brief in excess of 15 pages but not exceeding 7,000 words. The Center simultaneously filed its amicus brief. Later that day, the Court issued an order granting the motion and accepting the brief for filing. No further filings or actions have been made public as of March 2019.

Summary Authors

Brian Tengel (3/4/2015)

Lisa Limb (3/11/2019)

Related Cases

In re Application of the FBI for an Order Requiring the Production of Tangible Things From [Redacted], FISA Docket BR 13-158, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (2013)

People


Judge(s)

McLaughlin, Mary A. (Pennsylvania)

Walton, Reggie B. (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Carlin, John P. (District of Columbia)

Other Attorney(s)

Active

Active

Active

Active

Active

Judge(s)

McLaughlin, Mary A. (Pennsylvania)

Walton, Reggie B. (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Carlin, John P. (District of Columbia)

Other Attorney(s)

Borgia, Michael T. (District of Columbia)

Davidson, Michael (District of Columbia)

Martin, Kate (District of Columbia)

Onek, Joseph (District of Columbia)

Smith, Paul M. (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

14-00001

Order Granting the Government's Motion to Amend the Court's Primary Order Dated January 3, 2014

In re Application of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for an Order Requiring the Production of Tangible Things

Feb. 5, 2014

Feb. 5, 2014

Order/Opinion

14-00001

Response of the United States of America to the Court's March 21, 2014 Opinion and Order

In re Application of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for an Order Requiring the Production of Tangible Things

April 2, 2014

April 2, 2014

Pleading / Motion / Brief

14-00001

Brief of Amicus Curiae Center for National Security Studies on the Lack of Statutory Authority for this Court's Bulk Telephony Metadata Orders

In re Application of FBI for Order Requiring Production of Tangible Things from [redacted], FISA Docket 14-01

April 3, 2014

April 3, 2014

Pleading / Motion / Brief

14-00001

Motion of the Center for National Security Studies for Leave to File Brief of Amicus Curiae Not Exceeding 7000 Words

In re Application of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for an Order Requiring the Production of Tangible Things from [redacted], FISA Docket 14-01

April 3, 2014

April 3, 2014

Pleading / Motion / Brief

14-00001

Order Granting Leave for Center for National Security Studies to File Brief of Amicus Curiae Not Exceeding 7000 Words

In re Application of FBI for Order Requiring Production of Tangible Things from [redacted], FISA Docket 14-01

April 3, 2014

April 3, 2014

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated Aug. 6, 2022, 3:16 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

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

Case Ongoing: No reason to think so

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Center for National Security Studies.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Non-profit NON-religious organization

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:

Non-settlement Outcome

Outcome

Prevailing Party: None Yet / None

Nature of Relief:

None yet

Source of Relief:

None yet

Issues

General:

Confidentiality

Record-keeping

Records Disclosure

Search policies

Terrorism/Post 9-11 issues