FOIA Advisor

Q&A: Warrants? I don't have to show you no stinkin' warrants!

Q&A (2017)Allan BlutsteinComment

Q.   If a U.S. citizen was the subject of a FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] warrant and, in the end, it was concluded that he or she was not guilty of anything, can that person request to see the application for the warrant, the material collected, and other related documents?  If so, who would he or she contact?

A.  Most of the filings and orders of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court are classified.  Moreover, as a federal court, it is outside the reach of the Freedom of Information Act.  The FOIA does apply to intelligence agencies that interact with the court, e.g., the Department of Justice's National Security Division, FBI, and National Security Agency, but they frequently refuse to confirm or deny the existence of records about named individuals or organizations.