A curious development in 2015 related to Sussmann indictment and Alfa Bank saga

As so often: Interesting timing.

A story from September 2014 carried by ZDNet was recirculated on Twitter a few days ago.  The story, by Zack Whittaker for Zero Day, was about “Trusted Third Party” companies, which provide legal compliance services for Internet and communications service providers presented with surveillance subpoenas from law enforcement agencies.

The fundamental basis for this model of compliance operations goes back to the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) of 1994.  CALEA was implemented before most instant communications over the Internet – things like text messaging and voice-over-IP – existed, and after 9/11 was updated (in 2004) to keep up with technology and the new imperative for security-focused surveillance.

There are a lot of details to master for a full understanding of what CALEA does, and I recommend starting with Whittaker’s article and perusing this summary and FAQ posted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

For our purposes, here’s a short summary of what matters. Continue reading “A curious development in 2015 related to Sussmann indictment and Alfa Bank saga”

The Sussmann indictment and the Alfa Bank saga: A focused timeline

The most tangled web.

At Just the News, John Solomon reported a few days ago that according to the Justice Department’s IG, the FBI is still ignoring its own procedures in handling FISA surveillance applications.

Some of Solomon’s opening points:

“The FBI’s Woods Procedures are designed to ensure FISA applications are ‘scrupulously accurate’ and require agents to document support for all factual assertions contained in them,” Horowitz reported. “However, our audit found numerous instances where this did not occur.” 

Horowitz first flagged 29 applications in March 2020 that had problems including 209 errors. 

Twenty-nine applications in one month is not a small or inconsequential number of applications.  Keep in mind, this was still in Donald Trump’s presidency.  What readers think they may have done to clean out the Augean stable of D.C. bureaucracy, even Trump was not able to achieve, more than three years into his term.  It’s always useful to remember how much of the D.C. “establishment” was pulling against him the entire time he was in office.  FBI officials who ignored or gun-decked the Woods Procedures, as a slew of them did in 2016 under Obama, were likely to be prominent among them.

This timely observation from Solomon is by way of introducing a focused timeline that I hope will illuminate how very widespread and entrenched the scope of what John Durham has been investigating will turn out to be. Continue reading “The Sussmann indictment and the Alfa Bank saga: A focused timeline”