Yes, the NSA is Intercepting Attorney-Client Communications

And no, it doesn’t look like the ABA is going to try to do anything about it.

In February, as reported by the ABA Journal, the ABA sent a letter (pdf) to the NSA, in which ABA President Jay Silkenat politely asked the NSA to protect the attorney-client privilege.

[W]e request your support in preserving fundamental attorney-client privilege protections for all clients and ensuring that the proper policies and procedures are in place at NSA to prevent the erosion of this important legal principle.

Monday, according to the ABA Journal, NSA chief Keith Alexander sent a response (pdf), in which he acknowledged the NSA is scooping up attorney-client communications, but said that it is “affording appropriate protection” to those communications.

NSA has afforded, and will continue to afford, appropriate protection to privileged attorney-client communications acquired during its lawful foreign intelligence mission.

That protection apparently includes trying to ignore communications between an attorney and a client, if the NSA happens to notice.

Ass covered, Silkenat issued a written statement that says nothing, and that’s probably the end of that.

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  • guest

    I can accept (begrudgingly) that the NSA is going to listen to all the conversations they want. Funny, this very topic has come up this week in my personal life, twice. I decided to wave hello to them during a facetime conversation.
    Back to the point, if the NSA were to listen in to a privileged conversation, would that be admissible? I feel like maybe we are going to have to resort to the cold war style of communication, with signals, dead drops, etc.