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Electronic Frontier Foundation Government Privacy The Courts

EFF Tells Court That the NSA Knowingly and Illegally Destroyed Evidence 269

Posted by samzenpus
from the was-that-wrong? dept.
An anonymous reader writes in with this latest bit of EFF vs NSA news. 'We followed the back and forth situation earlier this year, in which there were some legal questions over whether or not the NSA needed to hang onto surveillance data at issue in various lawsuits, or destroy it as per the laws concerning retention of data. Unfortunately, in the process, it became clear that the DOJ misled FISA court Judge Reggie Walton, withholding key information. In response, the DOJ apologized, insisting that it didn't think the data was relevant — but also very strongly hinting that it used that opportunity to destroy a ton of evidence. However, this appeared to be just the latest in a long history of the NSA/DOJ willfully destroying evidence that was under a preservation order.

The key case where this evidence was destroyed was the EFF's long running Jewel v. NSA case, and the EFF has now told the court about the destruction of evidence, and asked the court to thus assume that the evidence proves, in fact, that EFF's clients were victims of unlawful surveillance. The DOJ/NSA have insisted that they thought that the EFF's lawsuit only covered programs issued under executive authority, rather than programs approved by the FISA Court, but the record in the case shows that the DOJ seems to be making this claim up.'
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EFF Tells Court That the NSA Knowingly and Illegally Destroyed Evidence

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  • by Firethorn (177587) on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @07:36PM (#47168525) Homepage Journal

    In general I think that destroying evidence should result in the assumption that they're hiding a worst case scenario. So I agree with the EFF. Destroying evidence = automatically guilty of accusations. Have a nice day.

  • by tekrat (242117) on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @07:45PM (#47168563) Homepage Journal

    The NSA could admit that they break the law every day of the week, murder Americans on american soil, steal millions of dollars, destroy companies and even the entire economy, and do you know what will happen?

    Absolutely nothing.

    They believe they are above the law. And heck, most of the legislative branch believes they are above the law. The judicial and executive branches are more than willing to look the other way, so as a result, the NSA gets a free pass to do whatever they want.

    Because.... national security... and boogyman terrorists... and something, something mumble mumble. Whatever the fear flavor of the week is. 1984 was an instruction manual.

  • by mfh (56) on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @07:53PM (#47168599) Homepage Journal

    Oligarchies are a funny animal. If you are 99% of the people you do anything like NSA does and you die alone in a prison cell or you're shot point blank. 1% of NSA affiliated members can do any of it and it's "national security".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @07:53PM (#47168601)

    The destruction of that data is required by law.*

    *only when it conveniently helps the government.

  • by pitchpipe (708843) on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @07:55PM (#47168611)
    - EFF, 2014

    Go destroy some evidence in a case against you where a judge has ordered you to preserve it. Let me know how that works out for you. The NSA will get away with it. You'll be asking Bubba to make sure he uses some lube.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @07:57PM (#47168617)

    it seems to work for President Obama too.

  • by mysidia (191772) on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @08:04PM (#47168645)

    In addition to the court stipulating that whatever the EFF had claimed the evidence said: everyone down the chain of management that was responsible for knowingly ordering destruction of evidence involved with their case, should be criminally prosecuted personally, (or impeached, if a cabinet official or elected official).

  • Re:Frightening (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pitchpipe (708843) on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @08:04PM (#47168647)

    The law says it's perfectly legal for NSA to destroy evidence that would compromise national security if revealed in a civil court.

    So the NSA gets to decide which evidence could impact national security of course, and pretty much all of it impacts national security so there is effectively no oversight. So pretty much the NSA operates as an unchecked branch of the government.

    You apologist are many things: cowards, shills, etc. Patriots you are not. You are undermining our democracy (however much we have left).

  • Re:Dear Slashdot (Score:4, Insightful)

    by EmagGeek (574360) <(moc.loa) (ta) (hciretg)> on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @08:05PM (#47168651) Journal

    Of course they have. Nothing you do on the Internet is anonymous.

  • by NormalVisual (565491) on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @08:07PM (#47168657)
    I know this is a troll, but people would do well to remember that being unable to hold the government accountable for their actions is a much greater threat to national security than any outside entity could muster against the people.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @08:36PM (#47168759)

    I wish more people weren't willing to put up with their government breaking the law. We should be up in arms about shit like this because it decays the very foundations of this country.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @08:40PM (#47168781)

    Nah, he just read about the dog eating his homework the next day. Found out with the rest of us

  • by Rich0 (548339) on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @08:41PM (#47168789) Homepage

    In general I think that destroying evidence should result in the assumption that they're hiding a worst case scenario. So I agree with the EFF. Destroying evidence = automatically guilty of accusations. Have a nice day.

    The problem with this is that what is that even going to accomplish? Ok, the court rules that they illegally spied on US citizens. They tell the NSA that they have to stop doing that. The NSA says, "fine - we were never doing it in the first place, and we'll continue to not do it." Then they keep doing what they've been doing all along, which they define as not being illegal spying by whatever contortions they apply.

    It isn't like the court is going to make somebody go to jail if the law is broken. If YOU spy on somebody illegally you'll get locked up for it. If the government does it, well, I guess the rules just must not have been clear enough.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @08:50PM (#47168835)

    Why the fuck aren't you, if you think it's such a good idea? You want the meat, you butcher it your own goddamn self. Whining that something should be done, but isn't, and insinuating that you're not doing it yourself == makes you a useless tool. Grow a fucking pair and stand behind your beliefs or shove it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @09:31PM (#47169011)

    The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

    If you actually give a damn about the concepts of liberty and equality, you should be prepared to give your life for them. Same as any belief you actually hold. Otherwise, you're just posturing.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @10:18PM (#47169181) Journal
    One minor complication, of course: accruing points for authenticity may be virtuous; but it isn't very useful.

    In fact, given that 'security' is the ubiquitous justification of these sorts of programs, most attempts to 'refresh the tree of liberty' will just show up as talking points next time the NSA wants a budget increase, or feels like arguing that the rules against domestic surveillance are compromising its effectiveness.

    Yes, it sounds all Serious and tough-minded to tell the chatterers that if they aren't fighting at the barricades, they are just whiners; but it ignores the fact that resistance can be worse than useless. In the case of 'national security' apparatus, violence that fails to leave them burned to ashes, and their toadies decorating the lamp posts of the capital, simply makes them look more legitimate and necessary. Since that level of force is unlikely to be a DIY project, you will, at very least, need to reach the level of whining where it becomes a group effort, or where alternate means become available.
  • by lister king of smeg (2481612) on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @10:42PM (#47169263)

    Why the fuck aren't you, if you think it's such a good idea? You want the meat, you butcher it your own goddamn self. Whining that something should be done, but isn't, and insinuating that you're not doing it yourself == makes you a useless tool. Grow a fucking pair and stand behind your beliefs or shove it.

    Because if one or two people that are fed up act on it and they get brushed off, 20 people act up get sent to jail, 200 get still get sent to jail but get a dismissive blurb in the local paper, 2,000 they get pepper sprayed and leader charged with inciting riot, 20,000,000 get a senator or two to half heartedly admit there might be an issue that might need looking into and never do anything substantive, It takes a critical mass to effect change

  • by rtb61 (674572) on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @10:55PM (#47169303) Homepage

    No the logical rule is that purposefully destroying is the crime, neither proving nor disproving the crime related to that evidence and the originating accusation. However, the penalty applied for the destruction of evidence is the crux of the matter, in destroying the evidence of a crime the penalty should be more severe or treated as if it was the maximum possible infringement of the accused crime. The is to motivate people to preserve the evidence so that everyone knows what is going on and government and society can react to the breach on order to take step to repeat it's repetition. In destroying evidence of a crime, you are destroying the ability of society to take corrective measures and thus it affects the whole of society, well beyond those directly affected in the actual breach of law. It will also make it a pretty stupid act to destroy evidence of a lessor crime than the one you were accused of.

    The whole principle of a public trial is so that everyone can know what is going on. That any claims are proven, that actions of government are substantiated, when it does the accusing and when it is the accused. It is not about simply mindlessly punishing people. It is all about what happened, why it happened, what can be done to remediate it and how it can be prevented in future.

    Take for example the worst most heinous possible criminal. Simply executing them based upon a confession is completely and utterly pointless. Knowing exactly what they done, how they done, proof of this to ensure no guilty party goes free whether as a result of a false confession or those associated with the crime. This helps to gain knowledge to reduce the chances of repetition of the crime. Just like keeping the perpetrator alive as a subject of medical research, genetics, psychological and future pharmacological research associated with prevention of that crime, so not just about being able to release them if they are latter proven innocent. Those who commit the worst crimes are the most valuable research tools in order to prevent those crimes that they committed.

  • by O('_')O_Bush (1162487) on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @11:23PM (#47169397)
    We tried that already with the Occupy movement. It ended up being judo'd into supporting those rat bastard "Tea Party" conservixtremists.

    The problem is that it is angry average Joe against teams of highly intelligent, highly motivated, professional weasels working for the big two parties. And unfortunately, they have been equipped with knowledge of human psychology, economics, and anthropology.
  • by cpm99352 (939350) on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @11:49PM (#47169469)
    I used to financially support the NRA, under the assumption that they defended the 2nd amendment. A while age I realized that was not actually correct,

    The EFF is the best example of an entity that defends *all* amendments. I now financially support them, every month. When NPR comes begging for money I'm happily able to refuse, secure in the knowledge that EFF is far more effective in their use of funds than NPR when it comes to presevring the Constitution.

    There are a ton of relatively affluent people here on Slashdot. It certainly wouldn't hurt you to allocate a small amount of money to EFF annually, and we know their results.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05, 2014 @02:18AM (#47169823)

    "I used to financially support the NRA, under the assumption that they defended the 2nd amendment. A while age I realized that was not actually correct"

    Um, no... the NRA is still the only organization that FIGHTS for the 2nd amendment. Gun Owners of America IMHO is a fig leaf for people who want to claim they care about the 2nd while being ineffectual in doing it. I personally wish there was an NRA-equivalent (that had members of the House and Senate quaking in their boots) for EACH of the 10 amendments that form the Bill of Rights. For example, we need a well-funded RUTHLESS grass-roots organization dedicated to JUST the 4th amendment that will tolerate NO politician who would support ANY search of a person, his home, his papers (information, "meta" or not) and his "effects" (other possessions) that would be comitted without a specific narrowly-drawn sworn-out under-oath search warrant. The NRA should NOT be the only organization with that zeal for the constitution and the 2nd amendment should NOT be the only amendment that has such a zealous supporter. And, no - the ACLU is not there for any of that (they get all tangled-up in favorite left-wing social and fiscal causes, let their politics drive them to weighing whether to enter any particular fight over any particular amendment, and have been far too willing to go mushy on the 1st and 2nd when their left-wing friends are stomping on them.)

    "...the knowledge that EFF is far more effective in their use of funds than NPR when it comes to presevring the Constitution. "

    Yikes! NPR is government-run pro-government propaganda; they're NO example of ANYTHING positive - the equivalent of Pravda, or some Goebels-run outfit. The American left USED to shout slogans AGAINST "the man"... now the left that used to burn draft cards and THINK the evil federal government MIGHT be spying on it, turns to the central government for EVERYTHING (food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, news, entertainment, etc.) even KNOWING that government is spying on them! So much for things like "never trust anyone over 40" and "Hey Hey LBJ, How many kids did you kill today?". If the government resumed the draft today, I suspect there'd be a lot of left-wing Obama supporters who'd SUPPORT the draft and turn-in anybody trying to escape to Canada!

    NPR should NEVER have been created in the United States, should never have been funded or licensed, and should have been shut down long ago. For all you left-wingers who love it (thereby exposing just how completely left-wing it has become while funded by ALL taxpayers) you should ask yourselves a serious question: Would "Air America" have survived and been forced to become better and more-competative if NPR had not been there as a place for liberal listeners to go to? That's the free market, and IF liberal ideas really ARE good, then they should succeed and prosper in such a market. Without NPR (which, as a government mouthpiece, has to live within certain bounds) I'd bet a MORE liberal commercial radio network WOULD HAVE succeeded (and liberals on Capitol Hill would not always be having to fight for NPR funding and worry that the GOP might succeed in cutting it).

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @04:44AM (#47170291) Journal
    Shooting politicians will almost certainly effect change, but it most likely won't be the change that you're looking for.

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