The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court issued an order on Friday directing the Department of Justice to respond no later than June 7 to a motion filed on May 23 by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). The order was signed by Judge Reggie B. Walton, presiding judge of the surveillance court.
EFF had asked the Court to formally consent to the release of records in which the Court found government surveillance activities to be inconsistent with the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. In response to a prior Freedom of Information Act request, the Justice Department had asserted that Court rules did not permit such disclosure, though that position is not explicitly stated in Court rules. To overcome this impasse, EFF asked the Court to affirmatively consent to disclosure of the requested records.
The case was first reported in Group wants special court to release ruling on unlawful U.S. surveillance by Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post, May 22.
For further background, see EFF Takes FOIA Fight Over Secret Wiretaps to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court by Mark Rumold, May 22.
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