Justia Communications Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Aerospace/Defense
United States v. Moalin
The defendants immigrated to the U.S. from Somalia years ago and lived in Southern California. They were convicted of sending or conspiring to send, $10,900 to Somalia to support a foreign terrorist organization, 18 U.S.C. 2339, and money laundering.The Ninth Circuit affirmed the convictions. The government may have violated the Fourth Amendment and did violate the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), 50 U.S.C. 1861, when it collected the telephony metadata of millions of Americans, including at least one of the defendants, but suppression was not warranted in this case because the metadata collection did not taint the evidence introduced at trial. The court’s review of the classified record confirmed that the metadata did not and was not necessary to support the probable cause showing for the FISA warrant application. The Fourth Amendment requires notice to a criminal defendant when the prosecution intends to enter into evidence or otherwise use or disclose information obtained or derived from surveillance of that defendant conducted pursuant to the government’s foreign intelligence authorities, but in this case, any lack of notice did not prejudice the defendants. Evidentiary rulings challenged by the defendants did not, individually or cumulatively, impermissibly prejudice the defense and sufficient evidence supported the convictions. View "United States v. Moalin" on Justia Law
Crosby v. Twitter, Inc.
In June 2016, Mateen entered the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando and opened fire, killing 49 people and injuring another 53. Victims and family members of deceased victims brought sought damages, not from Mateen, nor from ISIS, the international terrorist organization that allegedly motivated Mateen through social media, but from social media giants Twitter, Facebook, and Google under the Anti-Terrorism Act. Plaintiffs alleged ISIS used those social media platforms to post propaganda and “virtually recruit” Americans to commit terrorist attacks. Mateen allegedly viewed ISIS-related material online, became “self-radicalized,” and carried out the shooting. Following the attack, ISIS claimed responsibility. The complaint alleged aiding and abetting international terrorism, 18 U.S.C. 2333; conspiracy in furtherance of terrorism; providing material support and resources to terrorists, 18 U.S.C. 2339A, 2339B(a)(1); negligent infliction of emotional distress; and wrongful death The Sixth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the suit. Plaintiffs’ complaint includes no allegations that Twitter, Facebook, or Google had any direct connection to Mateen or his action. Plaintiffs did not suggest that those defendants provided “material support” to Mateen. Without these connections, Plaintiffs cannot state a viable claim under the Act. View "Crosby v. Twitter, Inc." on Justia Law
United States v. Daoud
Daoud, an 18-year-old American citizen, had an email conversation with undercover FBI employees posing as terrorists who responded to messages that he had posted online. Daoud planned “violent jihad” and discussed his interest in committing attacks in the U.S, using bomb-making instructions that he had read in Inspire magazine, an English-language organ of Al Qaeda, and online. Daoud selected a Chicago bar as the target of a bomb that the agent would supply. The agent told him the bomb would destroy the building and would kill “hundreds” of people. Daoud replied: “that’s the point.” On September 14, 2012, Daoud parked a Jeep containing the fake bomb in front of the bar. In an alley, in the presence of the agent, he tried to detonate the fake bomb and was arrested. In jail, he tried to solicit someone to murder the undercover agent with whom he had dealt. The government notified Daoud, under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), 50 U.S.C. 1801, that it intended to present evidence derived from electronic surveillance conducted under the Act. His attorney sought access to the classified materials submitted in support of the government’s FISA warrant applications. The government supplied a heavily redacted, unclassified response and a classified version, accessible only to the court with a statement that disclosure “would harm the national security.” The harm was detailed in a classified affidavit signed by the FBI’s Acting Assistant Director for Counterterrorism. The district judge ordered the materials sought by defense counsel turned over. In an interlocutory appeal, the Seventh Circuit reversed, stating that in addition to having the requisite security clearance the seeker of such information must establish need to know. View "United States v. Daoud" on Justia Law