Joint Statement by AG Holder and DNI Clapper on Section 215

I just wanted to make available to you the following statement, which was released jointly by Attorney General Eric Holder and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on March 28.

 

Joint Statement by Attorney General Eric Holder and Director of National Intelligence

James Clapper on the Declassification of Renewal of Collection
Under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act (50 U.S.C. Sec. 1861))
“Earlier this year in a speech at the Department of Justice, President Obama announced a transition that would end the Section 215 bulk telephony metadata program as it existed, and that the government would establish a mechanism that preserves the capabilities we need without the government holding this bulk data. As a first step in that transition, the President directed the Attorney General to work with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to ensure that, absent a true emergency, the telephony metadata can only be queried after a judicial finding that there is a reasonable, articulable suspicion that the selection term is associated with an approved international terrorist organization. The President also directed that the query results must be limited to metadata within two hops of the selection term instead of three.  These two changes were put into effect on Feb. 5, 2014, when the FISC granted the government’s motion to amend its Jan. 3, 2014, primary order approving the production of telephony metadata collection under Section 215. Following a review for declassification the Jan. 3 primary order, the government’s motion to amend that order, and the order granting the motion were posted to the FISC’s website, as well as the Office of the Director of National Intelligence website and icontherecord.tumblr.com.
 
“In addition to directing those immediate changes to the program, the President also directed the Intelligence Community and the Attorney General to develop options for a new approach to match the capabilities and fill gaps that the Section 215 program was designed to address without the government holding this metadata.  He instructed us to report back to him with options for alternative approaches before the program came up for reauthorization on March 28. Consistent with the President’s direction, we provided him with alternative approaches for consideration.
 
“After carefully considering the available options, the President announced yesterday that the best path forward is that the government should not collect or hold this data in bulk, and that it should remain at the telephone companies with a legal mechanism in place that would allow the government to obtain data pursuant to individual orders from the FISC approving the use of specific numbers for such queries. The President also noted that legislation would be required to implement this option. 
 
“Given that this legislation is not yet in place, and given the importance of maintaining this capability, the President directed the Department of Justice to seek a 90-day reauthorization of the existing program, which includes the modifications that he directed in January. Consistent with both the President’s direction, and with prior declassification decisions, in light of the significant and continuing public interest in the telephony metadata collection program, DNI Clapper declassified the fact that the United States filed an application with the FISC to reauthorize the existing program as previously modified for 90 days, and that today the FISC issued an order approving the government’s application. The order issued today expires on June 20, 2014. The Administration is undertaking a declassification review of this most recent court order. When the review is complete the ODNI will post the documents to its website and icontherecord.tumblr.com.”

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Authors

Untitled Document
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. 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. She is a member of Syracuse Law Review, the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and the senior editor for the Syrian Accountability Project. 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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