U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation
Background (docket no. BR 13-109)

On July 18, 2013, a verified Final "Application for Certain Tangible Things for Investigations to Protect Against International Terrorism" (Application) was submitted to the Court by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for an order pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA or the Act), Title 50, United States Code (U.S.C.), § 1861, as amended (also known as Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act),l requiring the ongoing daily production to the National Security Agency (NSA) of certain call detail records or "telephony metadata" in bulk. The Court, after having fully considered the United States Government's (government) earlier-filed Proposed Application pursuant to Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) Rule of Procedure 9(a), and having held an extensive hearing to receive testimony and evidence on this matter on July 18, 2013,4 GRANTED the application for the reasons stated in this Memorandum Opinion and in a Primary Order issued on July 19, 2013, which is appended hereto.

In conducting its review of the government's application, the Court considered whether the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution imposed any impediment to the government's proposed collection. Having found none in accord with U.S. Supreme Court precedent, the Court turned to Section 215 to determine if the proposed collection was lawful and that Orders requested from this Court should issue. The Court found that under the terms of Section 215 and under operation of the canons of statutory construction such Orders were lawful and required, and the requested Orders were therefore issued.

Specifically, the government requested Orders from this Court to obtain certain business records of specified telephone service providers. Those telephone company business records consist of a very large volume of each company's call detail records or telephony metadata, but expressly exclude the contents of any communication; the name, address, or financial information of any subscriber or customer; or any cell site location information (CSLI). Primary Ord. at 3 n.l.5 The government requested production of this data on a daily basis for a period of 90 days. The sole purpose of this production is to obtain foreign intelligence information in support of [REDACTED] individual authorized investigations to protect against international terrorism and concerning various international terrorist organizations. See Primary Ord. at 2, 6; App. at 8; and, Ex. A. at 2-3. In granting the government's request, the Court has prohibited the government from accessing the data for any other intelligence or investigative purpose.6 Primary Ord. at 4.

By the terms of this Court's Primary Order, access to the data is restricted through technical means, through limits on trained personnel with authorized access, and through a query process that requires a reasonable, articulable suspicion (RAS), as determined by a limited set of personnel, that the selection term (e.g., a telephone number) that will be used to search the data is associated with one of the identified international terrorist organizations.7 Primary Ord. at 4-9. Moreover, the government may not make the RAS determination for selection terms reasonably believed to be used by U.S. persons solely based on activities protected by the First Amendment. Id. at 9; and see 50 U.S.C. § 1861(a)(l). To ensure adherence to its Orders, this Court has the authority to oversee compliance, see 50 U.S.C. § 1803(h), and requires the government to notify the Court in writing immediately concerning any instance of non-compliance, see FISC Rule 13(b). According to the government, in the prior authorization period there have been no compliance incidents.8

Finally, although not required by statute, the government has demonstrated through its written submissions and oral testimony that this production has been and remains valuable for obtaining foreign intelligence information regarding international terrorist organizations, see App. Ex. B at 3-4; Thirty-Day Report for Filing in Docket Number BR 13-80 (Jun. 25, 2013) at 3-4; Thirty-Day Report for Filing in Docket Number BR 13-80 (May 24, 2013) a 3-4.