Court Narrows National Security Secrecy, Limits Oversight
David Kravets writes on Threat Level:
A unanimous federal appeals court on Monday narrowed the scope of when telecommunications companies must keep the self-issued FBI search-warrant requests secret.More here.
But the court limited when it was necessary for judges to review a secrecy order.
The appeal concerned various counter-terrorism statutes and the 2006 USA Patriot Act, which allows the FBI to demand information concerning telephone and e-mail communications (among other things) without a warrant under a national security letter, or NSL. The law forbids companies to let a customer know that the bureau has sought information concerning their telephone and e-mail traffic.
Ruling on an American Civil Liberties Union challenge to the gag order provision, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals concluded 3-0 that a carrier must keep the order secret if the FBI certifies that disclosure of the NSL "may result in an enumerated harm that is related to an authorized investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities."