Cyber Roundup: AT&T Releases the Numbers; Important Federal Court Rulings this Week; Clapper Says Surveillance Debacle Could Have Been Avoided

Last week, AT&T released the rough numbers reflecting the frequency with which the U.S. government (USG) has secretly demanded the phone records of AT&T consumers, Wired reports.  Furthermore, according to the Wall Street Journal, such requests amount to at least 35,000 records between January and June of 2013.

The New York Times reports that the U.S. District Court in Newark ruled the New York Police Department’s intelligence unit “did not discriminate against Muslims in carrying out far-reaching surveillance meant to identify ‘budding terrorist conspiracies’ at mosques in Newark and other locations in New Jersey[.]”  According to Judge William J. Martini, the plaintiffs—eight Muslims who challenged the constitutionality of the surveillance programs in a civil rights lawsuit—“have not alleged facts form which it can be plausibly inferred that they were targeted solely because of their religion[.] . . . The more likely explanation for the surveillance was to locate budding terrorist conspiracies.”

In an exclusive interview with the Daily Beast, Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper reportedly stated that the controversy over the intelligence community’s surveillance programs could have been avoided.  According to the Daily Beast, Clapper said:

I probably shouldn’t say this, but, I will.  Had we been transparent about this from the outset right after 9/11—which is the genesis of the 215 program—and said both to the American people and to their elected representatives, we need to cover this gap, we need to make sure this never happens to us again; so here is what we are going to set up, here is how it’s going to work, and why we have to do it, and here are the safeguards…we wouldn’t have had the problem we had.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit is considering an appeal filed by prosecutors challenging Judge Sharon Coleman’s ruling that the defense team for Adel Daoud will be permitted to review the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) orders used to build a case against Mr. Daoud, Politico reports.  “However, on Wednesday, the Seventh Circuit issued a one-page order expressing doubt about whether the government has the authority to appeal such a pre-trial ruling.”

Last year, the non-profit organization National Security Counselors won a lawsuit against the CIA for the agency’s failure to respond to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, Courthouse News Service reports.  The group’s founder, CEO, and sole attorney, Kelly McClanahan, filed the lawsuit.  However, McClanahan was recently denied legal fees “on behalf of his one-man non-profit,” a judge ruled.

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Professor William Snyder

Professor William C. Snyderis a member of the faculty of the Institute for National Security and Counter-terrorism at Syracuse University after fifteen years with the United States Department of Justice.

Ryan D. White

Ryan D. WhiteRyan is currently a third year law student at Syracuse University College of Law, and is also pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Ryan spent time with Homeland Security Investigations while pursuing his undergraduate degree at Wesleyan University, and spent his first summer of law school as clerk for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of New York. He is a member of Syracuse Law Review, the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and participates in the Veteran’s Legal Clinic. Full biography

Shelby E. Mann

Ryan D. WhiteShelby is a second year law student at the Syracuse University College of Law. She is the 2018-9 Editor in Chief of the Syracuse Law Review, as well as a member of the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and the senior editor for the Syrian Accountability Project. During her final year at the University of Missouri, she served as a full-time news producer for ABC 17 News. Shelby spent her first summer of law school at the Shelby County District Attorney General's Office in Memphis, Tenn., in the Public Corruption and Economic Crimes Unit. Full biography

Christopher w. FolkChristopher W. Folk

is a 2017 graduate of SU College of Law. A non-traditional student, Christopher returned to academia after spending nearly twenty years in the high tech industry. Christopher served in the Marine Corps, graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. In Applied Economics and Business Management, attended Northeastern University’s High-Tech MBA Program and received a M.S. In Computer Information Systems. Christopher previously worked in Software Engineering. Christopher is currently serving his second term as Town Justice for the Town of Waterloo. Christopher externed with a Cybersecurity firm in the Washington, D.C. area between his first and second year at SU College of Law. Full biography

Anna Maria Castillo

Anna Maria Castillois 2016 graduate of Syracuse College of Law. She also holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She has interned at a London-based think-tank that specializes in transnational terrorism and global security and at the legal department of a defense contractor. She served as an executive editor in the Syracuse Law Review. Full biography

Jennifer A. CamilloJennifer A. Camillo

is a 2015 graduate of Syracuse College of Law and is a prosecutor. She has served as a law clerk in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York and the Cayuga County District Attorney’s Office and as an extern in the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office. She was a member of the Syracuse National Trial Team and was awarded the Tiffany Cup by the New York Bar Association for her trial advocacy achievements.

Tara J. PistoreseTara J. Pistorese

holds Juris Doctor and Masters of Public Administration degrees from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and its College of Law. She wrote for this blog when a student. She is now a member of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps.

Benjamin Zaiser

is both a scholar and a Federal Agent of the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany. (Opinions expressed here are his own and not any part of official duty.) Full biography

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