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ProPublica and ACLU request access to FISA Court opinions

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ProPublica and the American Civil Liberties Union have filed new motions requesting access to the Foreign Surveillance Court opinions that…

ProPublica and the American Civil Liberties Union have filed new motions requesting access to the Foreign Surveillance Court opinions that explain the legal rationales for the American government's surveillance of private citizens.

The ACLU, along with the Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic at Yale Law School, had filed a motion seeking access to the opinions in June. The Reporters Committee and 14 media organizations filed an amicus brief in support of that motion. Since that time, many more aspects of the surveillance program have come to light, including the collection of internet metadata. So the groups filed a more expansive motion on Nov. 6, stating that "no proper basis exists to keep the legal discussion in these opinions secret."

ProPublica filed a similar motion yesterday. In a decision on the June ACLU motion, the court found that the Yale clinic did not have the right to sue because it did not demonstrate that it was harmed by the NSA program. ProPublica then filed its motion because media parties seeking access on behalf of the public are typically found to have standing to intervene in such cases.

Related Reporters Committee resources:

· Brief: FISA Court cases