a reply to: Xcathdra
Has anyone done an independent verification that the supposed Top Secret FISA Court finding is real? I cannot find it for example, on the FISC
website or the website for the Office of Director of National Intelligence. I can't find any reference in any of the discussion as to who exactly is
supposed to have released it and where.
Moreover, there is a strange coincidence that this exact same issue was discussed in a FISA Court finding back in 2013. See, for example, a
discussion by attorney Carrie Cordero that can be read in full at:
In her article, she summarizes that the Court document discusses:
"A signals intelligence agency that brought an embarrassing and significant technical error to the Court’s attention. No sugar-coating here: there
was a major disconnect between one subset of the technical implementation and the manner in which the implementation had been previously reported to
the Court. As Ben and Lauren explain here, this called into question the Court’s prior determinations that the NSA’s targeting and minimization
procedures were reasonable under the FISA and the Fourth Amendment.
An 80-page opinion from the then-Presiding Judge of the FISA Court, a former federal prosecutor, that takes the government to task for implementing a
collection in a way that was different from what the government had originally told the Court.
A Court that fully understood the issues at play, including the application of the technology involved in NSA’s “upstream” collection to the
FISA and the Constitution.
A Court that had the authority, ability and willingness to the direct the government to correct its actions. A Court that told the government that it
could do better, and insisted that it do so.
A level of confidence that existed between the government and the Court, in that the Court granted the government’s requests to delay its judgment
while the government fully investigated the problem and developed information that would help the Court’s consideration of the issues. This
confidence enabled important national security surveillance to continue, under the Court’s supervision, while the government gathered data to
present to the Court.
A Congress that was fully informed, in accordance with the FISA statute, through copies of the relevant opinions and the underlying written record,
briefings by senior officials and additional detailed reports.
An internal government compliance and oversight program that likely involved thousands of man hours over a period of months to uncover the nature of
the compliance problem and bring that information to the Court.
A solution reached, in under eight weeks from the Court’s October 3, 2011 opinion, that tightened retention and handling procedures and enabled the
Court to find the refined collection activities and procedures compliant with FISA and the reasonableness requirement of the Fourth Amendment."
The full text of the 2013 Court document can be viewed here:
The essence of the 85 page 2013 document (which was released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence) is virtually the same as the
supposed Top Secret document discussed in the OP and released within the last few days. The new document is not a word-for-word copy of the 2013
document (the dates are different, for example) but the story line is basically the same.
Interestingly enough, the security markings on the 2013 document (which is known to be authentic) differ from those on the recent document. They are:
TOP SECRET//COMINT//ORCON,NOFORN (on the old document) compared to TOP SECRET/SI/ORCON/NOFORN (on the new document). The 2013 classification scheme
is formally correct; Top Secret is the highest classification, COMINT is a compartment of Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI). You have to have
a TS clearance to be eligible for access to an SCI compartment. ORCON (Originator Controlled) and NOFORN (No Release to Foreign Nationals) are not
classification levels, as such, they are caveats that describe who has the authority to declassify the material and who is not allowed to see it.
These 3 different kinds of descriptors are all delimited from each other by different delimiters (double backslashes and commas). The classification
scheme in the recently released document seems to me to be erroneous; SI is not a compartment, as far as I know, and all of the different descriptors
are all separated by the same delimiters (commas), implying that they are all of the same importance (which they're not)
Could the genuine document from 2013 have been used as a template by someone to produce a recent disinformation document?
This is an honest question. Has someone already figured this out, one way or the other, and I just haven't heard about it?
Inquiring minds want to know.