Statutory Law - US Code - Title 50: War and National Defense


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Chapter 36 : Foreign Intelligence Surveillance: Subchapter VII: Protection of Persons Assisting the Government

*Current through Public Law 112-173, August 16th, 2012.
**Selected Provisions Relevant to U.S. Intelligence Law


SUBCHAPTER VII—PROTECTION OF PERSONS ASSISTING THE GOVERNMENT

50 USC § 1885. Definitions

In this subchapter:
(1) Assistance
The term “assistance” means the provision of, or the provision of access to, information (including communication contents, communications records, or other information relating to a customer or communication), facilities, or another form of assistance.
(2) Civil action
The term “civil action” includes a covered civil action.
(3) Congressional intelligence committees
The term “congressional intelligence committees” means—
(A) the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate; and
(B) the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives.
(4) Contents
The term “contents” has the meaning given that term in section 1801(n) of this title.
(5) Covered civil action
The term “covered civil action” means a civil action filed in a Federal or State court that—
(A) alleges that an electronic communication service provider furnished assistance to an element of the intelligence community; and
(B) seeks monetary or other relief from the electronic communication service provider related to the provision of such assistance.
(6) Electronic communication service provider
The term “electronic communication service provider” means—
(A) a telecommunications carrier, as that term is defined in section 153 of title 47;
(B) a provider of electronic communication service, as that term is defined in section 2510 of title 18;
(C) a provider of a remote computing service, as that term is defined in section 2711 of title 18;
(D) any other communication service provider who has access to wire or electronic communications either as such communications are transmitted or as such communications are stored;
(E) a parent, subsidiary, affiliate, successor, or assignee of an entity described in subparagraph (A), (B), (C), or (D); or
(F) an officer, employee, or agent of an entity described in subparagraph (A), (B), (C), (D), or (E).
(7) Intelligence community
The term “intelligence community” has the meaning given the term in section 401a(4) of this title.
(8) Person
The term “person” means—
(A) an electronic communication service provider; or
(B) a landlord, custodian, or other person who may be authorized or required to furnish assistance pursuant to—
(i) an order of the court established under section 1803(a) of this title directing such assistance;
(ii) a certification in writing under section 2511(2)(a)(ii)(B) or 2709(b) of title 18; or
(iii) a directive under section 1802(a)(4), 1805b(e), as added by section 2 of the Protect America Act of 2007 (Public Law 110–55), or 1881a(h) of this title.
(9) State
The term “State” means any State, political subdivision of a State, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and any territory or possession of the United States, and includes any officer, public utility commission, or other body authorized to regulate an electronic communication service provider.
(Pub. L. 95–511, title VIII, §801, as added Pub. L. 110–261, title II, §201, July 10, 2008, 122 Stat. 2467.)
References in Text
Section 1805b of this title, referred to in par. (8)(B)(iii), was repealed by Pub. L. 110–261, title IV, §403(a)(1)(A), July 10, 2008, 122 Stat. 2473.

50 USC § 1885a. Procedures for implementing statutory defenses

(a) Requirement for certification
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a civil action may not lie or be maintained in a Federal or State court against any person for providing assistance to an element of the intelligence community, and shall be promptly dismissed, if the Attorney General certifies to the district court of the United States in which such action is pending that—
(1) any assistance by that person was provided pursuant to an order of the court established under section 1803(a) of this title directing such assistance;
(2) any assistance by that person was provided pursuant to a certification in writing under section 2511(2)(a)(ii)(B) or 2709(b) of title 18;
(3) any assistance by that person was provided pursuant to a directive under section 1802(a)(4), 1805b(e), as added by section 2 of the Protect America Act of 2007 (Public Law 110–55), or 1881a(h) of this title directing such assistance;
(4) in the case of a covered civil action, the assistance alleged to have been provided by the electronic communication service provider was—
(A) in connection with an intelligence activity involving communications that was—
(i) authorized by the President during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, and ending on January 17, 2007; and
(ii) designed to detect or prevent a terrorist attack, or activities in preparation for a terrorist attack, against the United States; and

(B) the subject of a written request or directive, or a series of written requests or directives, from the Attorney General or the head of an element of the intelligence community (or the deputy of such person) to the electronic communication service provider indicating that the activity was—
(i) authorized by the President; and
(ii) determined to be lawful; or

(5) the person did not provide the alleged assistance.
(b) Judicial review
(1) Review of certifications
A certification under subsection (a) shall be given effect unless the court finds that such certification is not supported by substantial evidence provided to the court pursuant to this section.
(2) Supplemental materials
In its review of a certification under subsection (a), the court may examine the court order, certification, written request, or directive described in subsection (a) and any relevant court order, certification, written request, or directive submitted pursuant to subsection (d).
(c) Limitations on disclosure
If the Attorney General files a declaration under section 1746 of title 28 that disclosure of a certification made pursuant to subsection (a) or the supplemental materials provided pursuant to subsection (b) or (d) would harm the national security of the United States, the court shall—
(1) review such certification and the supplemental materials in camera and ex parte; and
(2) limit any public disclosure concerning such certification and the supplemental materials, including any public order following such in camera and ex parte review, to a statement as to whether the case is dismissed and a description of the legal standards that govern the order, without disclosing the paragraph of subsection (a) that is the basis for the certification.
(d) Role of the parties
Any plaintiff or defendant in a civil action may submit any relevant court order, certification, written request, or directive to the district court referred to in subsection (a) for review and shall be permitted to participate in the briefing or argument of any legal issue in a judicial proceeding conducted pursuant to this section, but only to the extent that such participation does not require the disclosure of classified information to such party. To the extent that classified information is relevant to the proceeding or would be revealed in the determination of an issue, the court shall review such information in camera and ex parte, and shall issue any part of the court's written order that would reveal classified information in camera and ex parte and maintain such part under seal.
(e) Nondelegation
The authority and duties of the Attorney General under this section shall be performed by the Attorney General (or Acting Attorney General) or the Deputy Attorney General.
(f) Appeal
The courts of appeals shall have jurisdiction of appeals from interlocutory orders of the district courts of the United States granting or denying a motion to dismiss or for summary judgment under this section.
(g) Removal
A civil action against a person for providing assistance to an element of the intelligence community that is brought in a State court shall be deemed to arise under the Constitution and laws of the United States and shall be removable under section 1441 of title 28.
(h) Relationship to other laws
Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit any otherwise available immunity, privilege, or defense under any other provision of law.
(i) Applicability
This section shall apply to a civil action pending on or filed after July 10, 2008.
(Pub. L. 95–511, title VIII, §802, as added Pub. L. 110–261, title II, §201, July 10, 2008, 122 Stat. 2468.)
References in Text
Section 1805b of this title, referred to in subsec. (a)(3), was repealed by Pub. L. 110–261, title IV, §403(a)(1)(A), July 10, 2008, 122 Stat. 2473.

50 USC § 1885b. Preemption

(a) In general
No State shall have authority to—
(1) conduct an investigation into an electronic communication service provider's alleged assistance to an element of the intelligence community;
(2) require through regulation or any other means the disclosure of information about an electronic communication service provider's alleged assistance to an element of the intelligence community;
(3) impose any administrative sanction on an electronic communication service provider for assistance to an element of the intelligence community; or
(4) commence or maintain a civil action or other proceeding to enforce a requirement that an electronic communication service provider disclose information concerning alleged assistance to an element of the intelligence community.
(b) Suits by the United States
The United States may bring suit to enforce the provisions of this section.
(c) Jurisdiction
The district courts of the United States shall have jurisdiction over any civil action brought by the United States to enforce the provisions of this section.
(d) Application
This section shall apply to any investigation, action, or proceeding that is pending on or commenced after July 10, 2008.
(Pub. L. 95–511, title VIII, §803, as added Pub. L. 110–261, title II, §201, July 10, 2008, 122 Stat. 2470.)

50 USC § 1885c. Reporting

(a) Semiannual report
Not less frequently than once every 6 months, the Attorney General shall, in a manner consistent with national security, the Rules of the House of Representatives, the Standing Rules of the Senate, and Senate Resolution 400 of the 94th Congress or any successor Senate resolution, fully inform the congressional intelligence committees, the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate, and the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives concerning the implementation of this subchapter.
(b) Content
Each report made under subsection (a) shall include—
(1) any certifications made under section 1885a of this title;
(2) a description of the judicial review of the certifications made under section 1885a of this title; and
(3) any actions taken to enforce the provisions of section 1885b of this title.
(Pub. L. 95–511, title VIII, §804, as added Pub. L. 110–261, title II, §201, July 10, 2008, 122 Stat. 2470.)