Memorandum Opinion and Order, [REDACTED]
Holding, Findings, and Matters of Law
Holding that 2020 certifications, targeting, minimization, and querying procedures comply with statutory requirements and are consistent with the Fourth Amendment. Id. at 60-61. The Court took note that since its most recent opinion on Section 702, FBI had implemented system changes to comply with recordkeeping and documentation requirements for such queries and had deployed mandatory training for all FBI personnel with access to unminimized Section 702-acquired information. The Court, however, stated it “continues to be concerned about FBI querying practices involving U.S.-person query terms, including (1) application of the substantive standard for conducting queries; (2) queries that are designed to retrieve evidence of crime that is not foreign-intelligence information; and (3) recordkeeping and documentation requirements.” Id. at 39. The Court examined specific compliance incidents and evaluated the manner in which the FBI implemented various changes to systems. Id. at 39-52. The Court noted that a majority of these query incidents occurred prior to FBI implementing system changes and deploying mandatory training intended to address these compliance matters, and that the COVID-19 pandemic had subsequently severely limited the ability of the government to monitor the FBI’s compliance once these system and training changes had been put in place. Id. at 41, 43, 49-50. As a result, the Court concluded that the improper queries do not undermine the Court’s determination that FBI’s querying and minimization procedures meet the applicable statutory and Fourth Amendment requirements, but stated that it would “continue to closely monitor the government’s reporting in order to evaluate whether the querying procedures are being implemented in a manner consistent with the statute and the Fourth Amendment.” See id. at 49-50. The Court also imposed new reporting obligations on the government to facilitate its oversight. See id. at 51, 63, 66.
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