Justice Department Asks FISC to Let U.S. Keep NSA Phone Records Longer
NEWS ANALYSIS: The filing with Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court would allow the government to retain phone records for more than five years to protect itself against lawsuits.If you spend enough time here in Washington you begin to realize that you have to be careful what you ask for, because you might get it. Another thing you learn is that for every official action, there is an equal, opposite and unintended reaction. A corollary to that rule is that "no well-intended deed goes unpunished." With that in mind, it's time to say, "Welcome to the Real Washington, privacy advocates." What's going on this time is that several organizations that oppose the National Security Agency's collection of phone call metadata are suing the federal government to make the data collection stop. A main goal of the American Civil Liberties Union is to have the entire database of phone call data deleted. Other groups say that the collection is overly broad and want better oversight. But in a motion uncovered by the Wall Street Journal, the Department of Justice is asking the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to allow it to stop deleting those records, and for permission to retain them as long as that material needs to be available as evidence. In other words, instead of deleting records after they have been retained for five years, the government would keep them longer.
"But wait," you're probably saying to yourself right now, "isn't the ACLU trying to keep them for less time, and maybe not at all?" That is correct. The unintended consequence of the ACLU's legal action itself is that the record would be retained longer than current law authorizes.