Guest Post: Would the USA Freedom Act End All Authorities for Bulk Collection?

Date : 17 Jul 2014

Writing on Just Security, CNSS calls on the Obama administration to disclose whether the Justice Department has claimed that the NSA’s bulk metadata collection could be legal under other authorities in addition to “section 215”,  which section Congress proposes to amend in the USA Freedom Act.  In February, CNSS asked the Justice Department and the ODNI to declassify and disclose more information about the history of the bulk metadata program, including a 2004 Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel Memorandum which apparently discussed the legal basis for such collection.  While both Members of the House and the administration claim that the House-passed USA Freedom Act would end the NSA’s bulk collection in fulfillment of the President’s pledge to do so, that claim is impossible to evaluate without knowing whether the Justice Department claims that there are other potential authorities which could be used by this or a future administration to reinstate bulk collection, even if the USA Freedom Act is enacted.  


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