Release of Documents Related to the 2019 FISA Section 702 Certifications

Release of Documents Related to the 2019 FISA Section 702 Certifications


September 4, 2020

Today the ODNI, in consultation with the Department of Justice, releases documents related to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court’s (FISC) approval of the 2019 Certifications under Section 702 the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

On December 6, 2019, the FISC issued a classified Memorandum Opinion and Order approving the 2019 Certifications and the associated targeting, minimization, and querying procedures (linked below). In the Memorandum Opinion, the Court examined the proposed procedures and found that they satisfy the requirements of FISA and the Fourth Amendment.

Additionally, the Court examined the implementation of and compliance with prior Section 702 procedures, including the FBI’s progress in implementing the recordkeeping and documentation requirements contained within FBI’s querying procedures. The Court concluded that the procedures, as implemented, also comport with statutory and Fourth Amendment requirements.

As it pertained to FBI’s querying procedures, the Court revisited its analysis of the 2018 Section 702 certifications in its September 2019 Opinion, finding that the FBI continued to follow its previously described implementation schedule to complete training and systems modifications necessary to meet query recordkeeping and documentation requirements.

In addition to releasing the FISC opinion, ODNI is releasing the targeting, minimization, and querying procedures related to the 2019 Certifications. Links to these documents are provided below.


2019 Targeting Procedures (released pursuant to the IC’s Principles of Transparency):


2019 Minimization and Querying Procedures (released pursuant to 50 U.S.C. § 1881a(e)).

Background on Section 702:

Section 702 was enacted as part of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (FAA) and most recently reauthorized by the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017. Section 702 permits the Attorney General and the DNI to jointly authorize, through certifications, the targeting of (i) non-U.S. persons (ii) who are reasonably believed to be located outside the United States (iii) to acquire foreign intelligence information. These certifications are accompanied by targeting procedures, minimization procedures, and querying procedures that are each designed to ensure that the Government’s collection is appropriately targeted against non-United States persons located overseas who may possess or are likely to communicate foreign intelligence information and that any such collection is appropriately handled in a manner that protects privacy and civil liberties.

Under Section 702, the FISC reviews the certifications and accompanying documents to ensure that they meet all the requirements of Section 702 and are consistent with the Fourth Amendment. The Court’s review is not limited to the procedures as written, but also includes an examination of how the procedures have been and will be implemented. Accordingly, as part of its review, the FISC considers the compliance incidents reported to it by the Government through notices and reports.

For additional background information, please refer to the 2020 Statistical Transparency Report Regarding Use of National Security Authorities for CY2019 posted on and IC on the Record.