Letter to Attorney General Requesting Reports on Telephone Surveillance Program
The Brennan Center for Justice, along with 22 other good government groups, sent a letter on July 8, 2013, to the U.S. Department of Justice urging the Attorney General to make public any reports by the Department’s Inspector General regarding the collection of Americans’ telephone records under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. The Inspector General has previously reviewed and reported on the FBI’s activities under Section 215. Any discussion of the telephone collection program, however, was redacted from public reports because the program was classified. Now that the government has declassified the existence of the program and many details about it, there is no longer any justification for withholding the Inspector General’s conclusions from the public.
On September 17, 2013, the Brennan Center received a response from the Justice Department’s Inspector General. It states that the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has issued two reports on this topic — one in 2007, addressing the use of Section 215 orders from 2002-2005, and one in 2008, addressing the use of Section 215 orders in 2006. Both reports were issued in unclassified form with redactions. The letter states that OIG has asked the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to conduct a declassification review of these reports. It also states that OIG is currently reviewing the use of Section 215 orders from 2007-2009, and that the results of the declassification review for the 2007 and 2008 reports will inform how much of the forthcoming report can be made public.