Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has released another trove of documents on the NSA and FBI’s surveillance program, including the FISA court’s reasoning for allowing sweeping collection of email and other metadata. An undated and heavily redacted court order issued by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly approved the measure, which allows the NSA to collect several unidentified categories of information as long as they don’t include the actual content of a call or message. Among other things, this includes email addresses, which the court found “are not part of the email’s ‘contents.'”
While the ruling was made under the laws used for wiretaps of individuals, the FISA court said that the intelligence community didn’t need to have the name of an actual person in order to collect metadata. The expansive program was also justified by the fact that it wasn’t part of ordinary law enforcement actions but was a facet of the intelligence community’s anti-terrorism efforts.
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