Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Section 215 of the Patriot Act and the Verizon Court Order

The order issued by the FISA Court for Verizon phone record metadata was made under 50 U.S.C. § 1861, enacted into law as Section 215 of the Patriot Act. We do not have the application submitted to the court, but we do have the court order. The law permits the court to order production of any tangible things relevant to an investigation to protect against international terrorism.

50 U.S.C. § 1861
the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation or a designee of the Director (whose rank shall be no lower than Assistant Special Agent in Charge) may make an application for an order requiring the production of any tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items) for an investigation to obtain foreign intelligence information not concerning a United States person or to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities, provided that such investigation of a United States person is not conducted solely upon the basis of activities protected by the first amendment to the Constitution.
Each application under this section

(1) shall be made to:

        (A) a judge of the court 
             established by section  
             1803 (a) of this title


        (B) a United States Magistrate Judge 
             under chapter 43 of title 28, who 
             is publicly designated by the Chief 
             Justice of the United States to 
             have the power to hear 
             applications and grant orders for 
             the production of tangible things 
             under this section on behalf of a 
             judge of that court; 

(2) shall include— 
        (A) a statement of facts showing that 
             there are reasonable grounds to 
             believe that the tangible things 
             sought are relevant to an  
             authorized investigation 
             (other than a threat assessment)  
             conducted in accordance with 
             subsection (a)(2) to obtain foreign 
             intelligence information not 
             concerning a United States person 
             or to protect against 
             international terrorism or 
             clandestine intelligence activities, 
             such things being presumptively 
             relevant to an authorized 
             investigation if the applicant 
             shows in the statement of the  
             facts that they pertain to—

                 (i) a foreign power or an agent 
                     of a foreign power;

                 (ii) the activities of a suspected 
                      agent of a foreign power 
                      who is the subject of such 
                      authorized investigation; 


                (iii) an individual in contact 
                      with, or known to, a 
                      suspected agent of a  
                      foreign power who is 
                      the subject of such 
                      authorized investigation.