On February 13, 2006, the American Bar Association (ABA) House of Delegates adopted a policy proposed by an ABA task force appointed to examine the use of electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes inside the United States. The policy opposes electronic surveillance inside the United States by any U.S. government agency for foreign intelligence purposes that does not comply with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and urges the president, if he believes that FISA is inadequate to safeguard national security, to seek appropriate amendments rather than acting without explicit statutory authorization. The policy also urges the Congress to conduct a thorough, comprehensive investigation into surveillance of U.S. persons that does not comply with FISA.
The ABA Task Force on Domestic Surveillance in the Fight Against Terrorism includes Center for American Progress Senior Fellow Mark D. Agrast, former FBI Director William S. Sessions, former CIA Deputy General Counsel Suzanne Spaulding, who served as both Minority Staff Director of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and General Counsel of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence; former Assistant Attorney General Stephen Saltzburg, who headed the Criminal Division at the Justice Department, two leaders of the ABA’s Section of International Law, James R. Silkenat and Deborah Enix-Ross; and special advisors Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker, who served as General Counsel at both the NSA and the CIA, and Harold Hongju Koh, Dean of Yale Law School. The Task Force is chaired by Neal R. Sonnett, a former Assistant United States Attorney and Chief of the Criminal Division for the Southern District of Florida.