Charles Savage

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Savage, Charlie. "Extended Ruling by Secret Court Backs Collection of Phone Data." New York Times, 17 Sep. 2013. []

On 17 September 2013, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court released a previously classified opinion" in which it said that the government's keeping of "records of all Americans’ phone calls ... was constitutional and did not violate Americans' privacy rights." Judge Claire V. Eagan's opinion "also noted that no telecommunications company had invoked its legal right to object to turning over its customers’ calling records to the government."

[Overviews/Legal/FISA/FISC; NSA/10s/13]

Savage, Charlie. "Ex-C.I.A. Officer Charged in Information Leak." New York Times, 23 Jan. 2012. []

On 23 January 2012, the Justice Department charged former CIA officer John Kiriakou "with disclosing classified information to journalists." In its criminal complaint, the FBI accused Kiriakou "of disclosing the identity of a C.I.A. analyst who worked on a 2002 operation that located and interrogated Abu Zubaydah." The complaint accuses Kiriakou "of being a source for a June 2008 front-page [New York] Times article, written by reporter Scott Shane. It identified a C.I.A. employee, Deuce Martinez, who played a major role [in the] interrogation of Abu Zubaydah ... and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed." Kiriakou "was released on a $250,000 bond after appearing in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia."

See also Greg Miller, "Former CIA Officer Charged in Leaks Case," Washington Post, 23 Jan. 2012; and Yochi J. Dreazen, "CIA Indictment Highlights Murky Ties Between Reporters and Intel Officials," National Journal, 23 Jan. 2012.


Savage, Charles. "F.B.I. Broadening Surveillance Role." New York Times, 12 Jan. 2014, A10. []

A "semi-redacted" study by Justice Department inspector general Michael E. Horowitz about FBI activities under the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 shows that the FBI "has gradually become a significant player in administering" the government's warrantless surveillance program.


Savage, Charles. "F.B.I. Focusing on Security Over Ordinary Crime." New York Times, 23 Aug. 2011. []

According to internal data from March 25, 2009, to March 31, 2011, FBI agents "have been more likely to be hunting for potential threats to national security than for ordinary criminals in recent years." The data shows that "agents opened 42,888 assessments of people or groups to see whether they were terrorists or spies.... Information gathered ... during those assessments had led to 1,986 preliminary or full investigations. The data also showed that agents initiated 39,437 assessments of people or groups to see whether they were engaged in ordinary crime,... .while 1,329 preliminary or full investigations had been opened based on the information gathered."


Savage, Charles. "F.B.I. Is Slow to Translate Intelligence, Report Says." New York Times, 27 Oct. 2009. []

A report issued on 26 October 2009 by the office of Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine says that the FBI's "collection of wiretapped phone calls and intercepted e-mail has been soaring in recent years, but the bureau is failing to review 'significant amounts' of such material partly for lack of translators." In a statement, the FBI "said that it was working to reduce its backlog of unreviewed audio recordings and electronic documents, and that it continued seeking to hire or contract with more linguists."


Savage, Charles. "Intelligence Policy Bans Citation of Leaked Material." New York Times, 9 May 2014, A17. []

"A new pre-publication review policy for the Office of Director of National Intelligence says the agency's current and former employees and contractors may not cite news reports based on leaks in their speeches, opinion articles, books, term papers or other unofficial writings."


Savage, Charles. "Loosening of F.B.I. Rules Stirs Privacy Concerns." New York Times, 29 Oct. 2009. []

Released in response to a Freedom of Information lawsuit, the FBI's "Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide" has "opened the widest window yet onto how agents have been given greater power in the post-Sept. 11 era.... One section lays out a low threshold to start investigating a person or group as a potential security threat. Another allows agents to use ethnicity or religion as a factor -- as long as it is not the only one -- when selecting subjects for scrutiny....

"The manual authorizes agents to open an 'assessment' to 'proactively' seek information about whether people or organizations are involved in national security threats. Agents may begin such assessments against a target without a particular factual justification.... Assessments permit agents to use potentially intrusive techniques, like sending confidential informants to infiltrate organizations and following and photographing targets in public. F.B.I. agents previously had similar powers when looking for potential criminal activity. But until the recent changes, greater justification was required to use the powers in national security investigations because they receive less judicial oversight....

"When selecting targets, agents are permitted to consider political speech or religion as one criterion. The manual tells agents not to engage in racial profiling, but it authorizes them to take into account 'specific and relevant ethnic behavior' and to 'identify locations of concentrated ethnic communities.'"


Savage, Charlie. "Obama Curbs Secrecy of Classified Documents." New York Times, 30 Dec. 2009. []

In an executive order and an accompanying presidential memorandum, "President Obama declared on [29 December 2009] that 'no information may remain classified indefinitely' as part of a sweeping overhaul of the executive branch's system for protecting classified national security information.... He also established a new National Declassification Center at the National Archives to speed the process of declassifying historical documents by centralizing their review." Moreover, the President "eliminated a rule put in place ... in 2003 that allowed the leader of the intelligence community to veto decisions by an interagency panel to declassify information. Instead, spy agencies who object to such a decision will have to appeal to the president."


Savage, Charlie. "Obama Strengthens Espionage Oversight." New York Times, 29 Oct. 2009. []

In an executive order released on 29 October 2009, President Obama "restored to the [Intelligence Oversight Board] a duty to forward to the attorney general any information it encounters about illegal intelligence activities." An executive order by President George W. Bush "said it would be up to the Director of National Intelligence to make any such criminal referrals."

Obama has not announced whom he will appoint to serve on the Intelligence Oversight Board. However, on 28 October 2009, the President "appointed Charles Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, and David Boren, a former Democratic senator from Oklahoma, to be co-chairs of the Intelligence Advisory Board, which focuses on making spy agencies more effective. The oversight board is a component of the advisory panel." For a report on President Bush's earlier action see Charlie Savage, "President Weakens Espionage Oversight: Board Created by Ford Loses Most of Its Power," Boston Globe, 14 Mar. 2008.


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