Surveillance and the FISA Court

tags: FISA courts



Bruce Ackerman is a professor of law and political science at Yale and the author of The Decline and Fall of the American Republic.

We are in the midst of the first serious reexamination of government spying since the 1970s.

President Obama has asked a special review panel for initial recommendations by November. The normally secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, also known as the FISA court, has broken new ground by publishing a full-dress opinion upholding the collection of massive amounts of data on domestic telephone conversations. With James R. Clapper, director of national intelligence, all but conceding that there was a "good side" to Edward Snowden's leaks, we can expect significant actions by the courts and the executive.

The question is whether those actions will effectively control National Security Agency abuses. The reforms currently on the table fail this test. They are steps in the right direction, but they won't get us to the right destination. If we pretend otherwise, we will be in for more rogue conduct in the future....



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