So, remember how we wrote about the big EFF filing in the Jewel v. NSA case, about how the NSA and DOJ had been knowingly destroying key evidence by pretending that they thought the preservation orders only applied to one kind of spying, and not the kind that was approved by the FISA Court (despite at other times admitting that the surveillance at issue in the case was approved by the FISA Court)?
Yeah, so, yesterday, the EFF realized that despite the big kerfuffle this whole thing had caused, the NSA and DOJ were still destroying that evidence, and sprinted over to the court to file for an emergency temporary restraining order on the government.
In its TRO, the Court ordered the government to refrain from any further destruction of evidence pending final resolution of the parties’ dispute over the government’s evidence preservation obligations: “Accordingly, it is HEREBY ORDERED that Defendants, their officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys, and all those in active concert or participation with them are prohibited, enjoined, and restrained from destroying any potential evidence relevant to the claims at issue in this action, including but not limited to prohibiting the destruction of any telephone metadata or ‘call detail’ records, pending further order of the Court.” ECF No. 189 at 2 (emphasis added). In its Amended Minute Order, the Court reiterated that the TRO’s prohibition on any evidence destruction remains in effect until the Court has finally decided the evidence preservation dispute: “The Court extends the temporary restraining order issued on March 10, 2014 until a final order resolving the matter is issued.” ECF No. 206 at 1.
In communications with the government this week, plaintiffs learned to their surprise that the government is continuing to destroy evidence relating to the mass interception of Internet communications it is conducting under section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. This would include evidence relating to its use of “splitters” to conduct bulk interceptions of the content of Internet communications from the Internet “backbone” network of AT&T, as described in multiple FISC opinions and in the evidence of Mark Klein and J. Scott Marcus....
Ridiculously, the DOJ claimed that it did not believe the original TRO covered internet content interceptions, and thus was still destroying such evidence. It just said it believed the court was still determining if the TRO applied to such evidence. It took very little time for the court to respond, telling the DOJ to file an immediate response and in the meantime to stop destroying the freaking evidence.
Click headline to read more including the TRO--