Case: In re Electronic Surveillance and Physical Search of Foreign Powers and Agents of Foreign Powers

[Redacted] | Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court

Filed Date: Oct. 8, 2008

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

This case relates to electronic surveillance conducted by the federal government pursuant to Title I of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). On October 2, 2008, the government filed a motion to amend the FBI Standard Electronic Surveillance and Physical Search Minimization Procedures. The proposed amendments authorized the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) to access information obtained pursuant to FISA in the FBI's Automated Case Support (ACS) database, as long as the NCTC o…

This case relates to electronic surveillance conducted by the federal government pursuant to Title I of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). On October 2, 2008, the government filed a motion to amend the FBI Standard Electronic Surveillance and Physical Search Minimization Procedures. The proposed amendments authorized the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) to access information obtained pursuant to FISA in the FBI's Automated Case Support (ACS) database, as long as the NCTC only accesses cases likely connected to terrorism or counterterrorism. The NCTC would also be able to disseminate that information with the FBI's approval, subject to certain minimization procedures—i.e., procedures to prevent private information about U.S. persons from becoming public or being misused.

On October 8, 2008, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court granted the government’s motion. She held that providing FISA information to the NCTC was consistent with FISA, including section 1801, because allowing the NCTC to access this information was “consistent with the need of the United States to obtain, produce and disseminate foreign intelligence information.” One potential problem the court raised is that the FBI's ACS database had some information unrelated to foreign intelligence, and it was not possible to separate the different types of information. FISA has different restrictions on how the government can use information that is not about foreign intelligence. However, the NCTC said it would not use any of that information, and the court concluded that the FBI could share the information with the NCTC because that did not count as "disseminating" it under FISA. Therefore, the court approved the amendments.

This case is presumed closed.

Summary Authors

Venesa Haska (2/29/2024)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

[Redacted]

Memorandum Opinion

Oct. 8, 2008

Oct. 8, 2008

Order/Opinion

Docket

Last updated Dec. 4, 2023, 3 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 Court

Key Dates

Filing Date: Oct. 8, 2008

Case Ongoing: No reason to think so

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

U.S. Attorney General, on behalf of the FBI and National Counterterrorism Center

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 I Warrant (Electronic Surveillance), 50 U.S.C. §§ 1801-1812

FISA Title III Warrant (Physical Search), 50 U.S.C. §§ 1821-1829

Constitutional Clause(s):

Unreasonable search and seizure

Freedom of speech/association

Special Case Type(s):

Warrant or subpoena application

Available Documents:

Non-settlement Outcome

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Warrant/Order allowing surveillance

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Content of Injunction:

Recordkeeping

Order Duration: 2008 - None

Issues

General/Misc.:

Confidentiality

Record-keeping

Records Disclosure

Search policies

Terrorism/Post 9-11 issues