Yes, to be clear, the report that LeBlanc excoriates is the classified report the PCLOB submitted to Congress, NSA and other concerned federal agencies addressing NSA’s XKeyscore collection program and, in fairness, it seems much easier to take public shots at the content of /1
the classified report with which LeBlanc obviously disagrees when the actual content of the report cannot be publicly disclosed. That said, there are aspects of LeBlanc’s criticisms that suggest he perceives a role for the PCLOB that exceeds the statutory mandate Congress /2
created for that agency. The PCLOB’s purpose as expressed by Congress is “(1) analyze and review actions the executive branch takes to protect the Nation from terrorism, ensuring that the need for such actions is balanced with the need to protect privacy and civil liberties; /3
and, (2) ensure that liberty concerns are appropriately considered in the development and implementation of laws, regulations, and policies related to efforts to protect the Nation against terrorism.”
LeBlanc opens his critique of the XKEYSCORE report by saying he voted /4
against it because the PCLOB failed to use its investigation into EO 12333 activities “to delve into important technological and modern surveillance issues dominating the public discourse, like algorithmic decision-making.” I’m certainly no technical expert, but I don’t see /5
how such an inquiry ties into the statutorily-defined purposes of the PCLOB that are specifically tied to intelligence activities related to combatting terrorism.
Nor does the statute’s language suggest it is the role of the PCLOB, for example, ‘to engage in evidence-based /6
policy-making" that would have analyzed “the efficacy, costs and benefits of XKEYSCORE.” It may be that LeBlanc, who is a litigator by trade but certainly has extensive cybersecurity experience, feels competent to make these judgments but it is hard to see them falling within /7
the ambit of the PCLOB’s statutory mission.
Indeed, it is obvious from his Bluebook footnoting that LeBlanc is a lawyer, not a technician or an intelligence professional. Moreover, given how LeBlanc’s criticisms tend towards matters outside of the PCLOB’s defined role, /8
and given his role as an advisor to the Electronic Information Privacy Center (EPIC), a group vocally critical of NSA in general, one cannot help but ponder the entire agenda that LeBlanc’s strident dissent is intended to promote. /END

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More from @GeorgeCroner

13 Jun
I have documented my concerns regarding the issue of essentially immunizing the press through a de facto federal shield law where leaks involve the disclosure of classified national security information. E.g.….
So, like @charlie_savage, I'm curious 1
about the details of the new Biden-Garland DOJ policy. For example, let's assume the leak divulges classified information concerning the communications intelligence activities of the U.S. According to 18 USC §798, the transmission of such classified information is a crime AND 2
the act of publishing such information is also a separate and distinct crime. So, does the new DOJ policy mean that this administration is foregoing the option of subpoenaing a reporter to ascertain the source of a leak where both the leaking and the publication of the 3
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6 Jun
Bravo, @DavidLaufmanLaw. A voice of reason. 🧵

The subpoenaing of reporters has been much in the news with many media organizations lauding the Biden Administration’s statement that issuing subpoenas for the records of reporters in leak investigations is not consistent with 1
the President’s policy as provided to DoJ. If this statement means the Administration has ruled out subpoenaing reporters under any circumstances in any leak investigation, this is, frankly, contrary to existing DoJ regulations developed and implemented during the Obama, not 2
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A basic principle of the American judicial system is that the public has a right to every man’s evidence. No blanket exception exists for media members or newsgathering activities. Notably, there is no federal shield law protecting newsgathering 3
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31 Mar
I'm delighted at the successful effort by DoJ in this leaks case. But, again, the prosecution stops at the transfer to the reporter. Why? It's clear from the DoJ press release that the recipient reporter's news outlet published, in whole or in part, no less than 23 of the /1
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DoJ's superseding indictment in the Julian Assange case lays out the approach to prosecuting the reporter/publisher receiving classified information, and I write about /2
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16 Mar
To be clear, this ODNI report is a declassified version of the classified report, which remains classified. It differs from the 2017 IC Analysis, which focused exclusively on Russian activities and intentions regarding the 2016 election, by evaluating the conduct of other /1
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Key takeaways: (1) there is no indication that any foreign actor /2
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25 Feb
There is a need for some context here. The FBI's FISA process has received justified criticism with respect to its Carter Page FISA applications. However, it is worth noting, given the implications of this post, that a review of other FBI FISA applications identified by the /1
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11 Nov 20
Since the NYT article refers to PA litigation, in PA there is a statute called the Dragonetti Act that codifies an action based on the wrongful use of civil proceedings.

But, more importantly, in federal court where this farce is playing out in PA, /1
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