Testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Thank you, Chairman Feinstein, Vice Chairman Chambliss, and members of the committee for inviting me to present my views on reform of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). I am a Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. I co-founded and am Editor in Chief of Lawfare, a website devoted to sober and serious discussion of “Hard National Security Choices.” I am the author or editor of several books on subjects related to law and national security:Detention and Denial: The Case for Candor After Guantánamo (2011), Law and the Long War: The Future of Justice in the Age of Terror (2008), and Legislating the War on Terror: An Agenda for Reform (2009). The views I am expressing here are my own.
In his press conference of August 9, President Obama said with respect to collection under FISA that he believes “there are steps we can take to give the American people additional confidence that there are additional safeguards against abuse. For instance, we can take steps to put in place greater oversight, greater transparency and constraints on the use of this authority” (emphasis added). I would like today to describe what I see as the major opportunities that now exist for—as the President put it—greater transparency, enhanced oversight, and additional constraint on intelligence collection under the FISA in the wake of the unauthorized disclosures this summer by Edward Snowden and the material declassified by the Executive Branch in response.