Oakland, CA - A federal judge today ordered an emergency hearing today at 2 p.m. PT after EFF learned that the government is apparently still destroying evidence of NSA spying despite a temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the court in March.
Yesterday afternoon, EFF filed an emergency motion with U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White, explaining that communications with government lawyers over the last week had revealed that the government has continued to destroy evidence relating to the mass interception of Internet communications it is conducting under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. The judge responded less than two hours later, reiterating that his TRO was still in place and continues to prohibit the destruction of evidence collected under Section 702. Late Thursday evening, the government filed papers with the court, claiming that compliance with the preservation order that has been in effect since March "would cause severe operational consequences" for the NSA, "including the possible suspension of the Section 702" program.
"This TRO has been in place since March. Yet we are only hearing these excuses now," said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. "Once again, the government has secretly and unilaterally reinterpreted its obligations about the evidence preservation orders, and determined that it need not comply with a federal court order, and now is asking for a blessing from the court after the fact. We are pleased that Judge White has called this emergency hearing to get to the bottom of this."
The government will appear by phone at the Oakland, California hearing.
Emergency Hearing in Jewel v. NSA
Friday, June 6
U.S District Court
Northern District of California
Courtroom 5, Second Floor
1301 Clay Street
For the full order from Judge White:
For more on Jewel v. NSA:
Media Relations Director
Electronic Frontier Foundation