One of the 9/11 Commission’s key recommendations was that “the burden of proof for retaining a particular governmental power should be on the executive, to explain (a) that the power actually materially enhances security and (b) that there is adequate supervision of the executive’s use of the powers to ensure the protection of civil liberties. If the power is granted, there must be adequate guidelines and oversight to properly confine its use.”
This wise guidance still must be heeded and the hasty changes made to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in August of this year have led many to question whether Congress got it right. Because the new law expires five months from now, Congress will soon have another opportunity to improve the safeguarding of both our security and our civil liberties. The Center for American Progress Action Fund will host a panel of experts including Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) to discuss what is at stake in amending FISA and explore ways to ensure that the executive branch has the authority it needs to enhance our security without unnecessarily trammeling our civil liberties.