On a U.S. government database somewhere, there is a classified court opinion that details unlawful surveillance of Americans’ communications. And the Justice Department is fighting to keep it secret.
Last year, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., revealed that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court had found “on at least one occasion” that the government had conducted spying that was “unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment,” which is designed to prevent unreasonable searches and seizures. Wyden said that the FISC, which operates largely in secret, had found that the government acted unconstitutionally in how it had implemented so-called “minimization procedures” intended to limit how data on Americans are collected and retained. The senator added that the government was found to have “circumvented the spirit” of the Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act, a controversial spy law that civil liberties groups claim effectively allows “dragnet surveillance.”
When Wyden revealed the FISC ruling on the unlawful snooping, he did not disclose details about exactly what the surveillance involved or how many Americans were affected. But his comment prompted the Electronic Frontier Foundation to take legal action in an attempt to obtain more information. After filing suit in a district court, the rights group successfully established earlier this year that the Justice Department holds an 86-page FISC opinion, issued on Oct. 3, 2011, which appears to be the case Wyden cited. Now the EFF wants that opinion to be made public.
Read More – Slate