FISC Approves Government’s Request to Modify Telephony Metadata Program
During his speech on Jan. 17, 2014, President Obama ordered a transition that will end the Section 215 bulk telephony metadata program as it currently exists, and establish a mechanism that preserves the capabilities we need without the government holding this bulk data. As a first step in that transition, the President directed the Attorney General to work with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to ensure that, absent a true emergency, the telephony metadata can only be queried after a judicial finding that there is a reasonable, articulable suspicion that the selection term is associated with an approved international terrorist organization. The President also directed that the query results must be limited to metadata within two hops of the selection term instead of three.
To put these two changes into effect, the Department of Justice filed a motion with the FISC to amend its most recent Jan. 3, 2014, primary order approving the production of telephony metadata collection under Section 215. Yesterday, the FISC granted the government's motion. In addition, the FISC ordered the government to do a classification review by Feb. 17, 2014, of the Jan. 3 primary order, the government's motion to amend that order, and the order granting the motion. Following completion of the review, the motion and two orders will be published as appropriate on the FISC’s website, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence will post them