A federal judge has ordered the government to declassify more reports from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Judge Dennis Saylor on Friday told the White House to declassify all the legal opinions relating to Section 215 of the Patriot Act written after May 2011 that aren't already the subject of FOIA litigation.
The Judge said that the unauthorised disclosure in June 2013 of a Section 215 order, and government statements in response to that disclosure, have engendered considerable public interest and debate about Section 215. He said that publication of FISC opinions relating to this opinion would contribute to an informed debate.
The ruling comes in response to a petition by the American Civil Liberties Union seeking greater government transparency. The ACLU already has a similar FOIA case pending in another court and Saylor wrote that the new FISC order can only cover documents that don't relate to that case.