By Jennifer Granick on August 28, 2014 at 3:21 pm
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court declassified an opinion today which, although highly redacted, illuminates the way at least one Judge is interpreting his mandate to protect the First Amendment activities of Americans who the FBI seeks to investigate under USA PATRIOT Act Section 215, codified at 50 USC 1861.
Essentially, the question the judge, John D. Bates, confronts is when are international terrorism investigations involving Americans based “solely upon activities protected by the first amendment to the Constitution.” Judge Bates concludes that so long as a international terrorism investigation is premised on some unprotected activity, the FBI can nevertheless investigate law-abiding US persons.
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