Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Will Provide a Glimpse of Its Workings

We'll get a peek at procedures in Microsoft's and Google's challenges to snooping


The most secretive court in the nation, which has been criticized for authorizing domestic surveillance by the National Security Agency, has taken a tiny step toward openness in lawsuits brought by Google and Microsoft.

CNET has learned that Reggie Walton, the presiding judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, told the Obama administration last week that—barring any objections from the government—he would take the unusual step of disclosing procedural information about the Internet companies' litigation.

The Department of Justice responded yesterday by saying it had no objections. Neither Google nor Microsoft's legal briefs "contain information that is now classified, nor information that should be held under seal," the department said in a response submitted by John Carlin, the acting assistant attorney general for national security.