U.S. Shutdown Disrupts NSA Transparency Case, Review Groups

Google, Facebook and Yahoo are waging a legal battle over NSA transparency, but DOJ lawyers can't work on the case during the shutdown

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NSA / Reuters

The National Security Agency headquarters in Fort Meade, Md.

The U.S. government shutdown has closed large portions of the federal apparatus and forced hundreds of thousands of workers to stay home. Another consequence of the shutdown? A high-profile legal battle over transparency between the largest Internet companies in the U.S. and the federal government has come to a standstill, because Justice Department lawyers assigned to the case are prohibited from working. Meanwhile, two ostensibly independent government investigations into the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs have also been disrupted.

The five-member Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies, which was set up in the wake of blockbuster revelations supplied by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, has had its staff furloughed, according to a report in Politico. Another federal oversight group, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, had to postpone a key hearing because “a significant number of witnesses” were unable to appear because of the shutdown, Politico reported.

In the transparency case, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo and LinkedIn, have filed briefs with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) for permission to disclose statistics about the nature and scope of government requests made under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The Justice Department has formally opposed their request. The tech companies had been facing a deadline of Oct. 21 to respond, but that was before the government shutdown.

(MORETech Titans Poised for Showdown With Justice Department Over NSA)

Earlier this week, in an unusual move, the tech companies and the Justice Department filed a joint motion with the FISC asking for a delay in the case. “Absent an appropriation, Department of Justice attorneys and employees are prohibited from continuing to work, even on a voluntary basis, except in very limited circumstances, including ‘emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property,'” according to the brief. During the shutdown, Justice Department lawyers are prohibited from discussing a key request from the tech companies about whether their lawyers can access classified information contained in the government’s brief.

This week, the FISC granted the motion for a delay in the proceedings, as a result of the government shutdown. The court did not specify a new deadline for the tech firms’ response brief. In a separate order, the FISC also directed the government to declassify a FISC court opinion containing “analysis by this Court evaluating the meaning, scope, and/or constitutionality” of Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, one of the statutes that authorizes the NSA surveillance programs. The FISC ordered the government to submit a proposed timetable for completing the declassification review and any proposed redactions within seven days of the shutdown’s conclusion.

The Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies was not required to stop working during the shutdown, but one of its members — former CIA deputy director Michael Morrell — declined to participate. “I simply thought that it was inappropriate for our group to continue working while the vast majority of the men and women of the intelligence community are being forced to remain off the job,” Morell told Politico. “While the work we’re doing is important, it is no more important than — and quite frankly a lot less important — than a lot of the work being left undone by the government shutdown, both in the intelligence community and outside the intelligence community.”

There is no indication that the NSA has ceased conducting surveillance operations as a result of the government shutdown. However, the NSA’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) office — which is responsible for responding to requests from journalists and others — has been closed. In a statement posted on its website, the NSA said that requests under FOIA or the Privacy Act, “will not be addressed until the office reopens.”

Correction 10/11: An earlier version of this story linked to a FISC order in the ACLU case (Docket No. Misc. 13-02). The FISC’s order granting a stay of the tech companies’ transparency case can be found here.

11 comments
AdalbertoCervantesRodriguez
AdalbertoCervantesRodriguez

NSA y otras agencias de inteligencia estadounidenses están infiltrados por gente de la india que pertenecen al Islam y a las ideas nazis. Están dando datos confidenciales a 5 grandes empresas de indias de TI para expandir su negocio con base al fraude empresarial. Y la manipulación de las mafias globales de todo el mundo. NSA and other US intelligent agencies are infiltrated by Indians of Islam and Nazis. They are giving confidential data to 5 Big IT Indian Companies to expand their business on base of business fraud. And manipulation of global mafias around the world.

AdalbertoCervantesRodriguez
AdalbertoCervantesRodriguez

Accenture is not learning, after Enron, more business frauds are yet to come. The use of ERP, initiated in Mexico, after an election fraud is used against Public Corporates, there is a high probabilities that Election IT expertise of IBM moved to the ERP to repeat the frauds all over the world. Looking for power and easy money, the ERPs have been used to destroy economies and families in Mexico and USA to the poverty of millions of people while the governments are defending the Free Trade Agreements.

AdalbertoCervantesRodriguez
AdalbertoCervantesRodriguez

When IBM is going to respond to the international laws about the Mexican election fraud during Salinas de Gortari period, one of the promoters of NAFTA that it is getting Mexican and American citizens into an increasing high rate of poverty. The technology of the ERP was created in Mexico, so this corrupted personnel of IBM moved to the ERP technology doing the same illegal business.

As we are finding answers about the spy global system, we have to check TELMEX and AT&T because something as to start for the basic personal needs of our daily life. If we discover that the personnel of TELMEX, AT&T or other are infiltratin...g our own houses, we have to do something immediately to stop them, remember that Carlos Slim is from the Islam, probably likes Nazis because of the results of the wars in Mexico. We are paying extreme rates to call our families in Mexico if you use TELMEX. The Mexican government sold TELMEX to Slim thinking of better services but it is definitely worse.

AdalbertoCervantesRodriguez
AdalbertoCervantesRodriguez

In the Spy war, Putin is showing more experience than his contra part Obama. Even when Obama is using an istlamo nazy NSA help, the problema is high school analysis verus scientific analysis. There is a lot of difference. USA analysis is really weak, Easterns are using scientific analysis while we are using high school level studies mainly in the Istlamo Nazy NSA. It is happening the same in the US business sector

AdalbertoCervantesRodriguez
AdalbertoCervantesRodriguez

Ataco a la periodista mexicana, dado que puso en ridículo al Director de Pemex, mostrando su total incapacidad en el puesto, Televisa la mando por eso a atacarla directamente. Aristegui mostro una maestría total en las preguntas que le hizo al Director de Pemex, lo puso en ridículo, Mexicans dislike liers specially if they are foreigners. Criminals are receiving visas from Mexico and United States. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=DJkdMU1TyZc#t=107 It looks that a sickness starting with Istlamo Nazi Indian consultants is spreading the world because they do not kno basic economy, and for sure we need capitalist models at this time again. To be a liar in Mexico about economy, accounting is really dangerous. Pretty risky

AdalbertoCervantesRodriguez
AdalbertoCervantesRodriguez

Bill Gates es el diablo en la compra de PEMEX. Mexicans and foreigners working for The illuminaties are trying to get the mexican oil company to them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnIPmDNgCPA&feature=youtube_gdata_player They already are owners of USA and are trying to move fast to the south. Go away Istlamo Nazis from Mexico. They are using a complex system, the head of the lazies is Bill Gates. But we créate the system, the lazy group copied wrong. Bill Gates asked for Mexican Petroleum Institute personnel to work for him in the MS-DOS, really basic system, seems to be created by him. Everybody respected his copyrights. But today he is stolen copyrights everywhere. According with Bill Gates, PEMEX is a monopoly and this has to change. But also Microsoft is monopoly world wide, and they do not respect the copyright as a matter of fact they are stolen them, it seems that in some cases they are killing the authors, using the illuminati network world wide, Indian Istlamo Nazis are included. Mexico is out of touch geting involved with the american government that it is full inflitrated with Istlamo Nazis at this time. they are killinng christians and catholics all over the world with fast speed.

AdalbertoCervantesRodriguez
AdalbertoCervantesRodriguez

This guy is getting crazy when he does not have all the Universe knowledge by himself. Lazy Group is getting out of the road . Stop using devices of acupuncture pre-programmed using the illuminati network or stolen copyrights or may be killing their authors http://lnkd.in/bR4639y The lazy illuminaties want to make us believe that anybody can be them, but the real situation is that rates are lower, working without benefits most of the time. Less american labor environment. We hate Obama involved in IT criminal acts. You forgot gay, muslim, socialist, communist, Kenyan... What am I forgetting? Then there is the HARP weapons... And Acorn... Obamaphones... The fly that landed on his face which was a sign of the devil... UN coming to take all the guns... Fema camps... His wife suggested we drink more water...

AdalbertoCervantesRodriguez
AdalbertoCervantesRodriguez

I think that Mexico and USA may be better than India, if we let the mexican and US PhD and scientists work together in each module of the ERP, and créate something really advance for our civilization, mexican american should be working together for a new Era. The true is that the mexican and US education is without direction, to have it, it is necessary to unify all the level of education, and structure the knowledge by modules at all the levels to créate the productivity models, I created. The mexican and US government should work at all levels of the mexican and US education and structure the knowledge in the way to be more productive, protect our companies, our Nation. No podemos dejar las empresas mexicanas y americanas en manos de estos tipos por falta de acuerdos en el sector educativo, realmente falta un reforma educativa que redunde productivamente en el sistema mexicano y americano.

AdalbertoCervantesRodriguez
AdalbertoCervantesRodriguez

Los modelos macroeconómicos y microeconómicos mexicanos del TLC han sido repetidos en otras partes del mundo dejando millones en la pobresa extrema.
Mexican Macroeconomic and microeconomic models of NAFTA have been repeated in other parts of the world leaving millions in extreme poverty. http://www.proceso.com.mx/?p=351991

AdalbertoCervantesRodriguez
AdalbertoCervantesRodriguez

Calderon and Fox used the international legal and illegal security network in USA and
Mexico against me, after a comment on line in Excelsior and Universal about the
issue of two plagiarisms of Fox in Mexico at Universidad Iberoamericana for hic
Bachelor´s degree and also in his thesis presented at an American University
for his PhD. It was long time ago but since then he has been using the
international legal and illegal security network in USA and Mexico against me
for almost three years, as a personal issue. Also I used to work in Hildebrando,
Calderon´s family business and both of them decided to use this international
legal and illegal security network in USA and Mexico against me because of my comments on line about the plagiarism of Fox using government documents as Theses. The Lazies are winning over the world. They only copy or stole the copyrights of others. The Lazies are using fake educational level. They do not have any degree. http://t.co/KhIGtxd6sQ