Center for American Progress Action

ADVISORY: Getting Surveillance Right: Another Look at FISA
Press Advisory

ADVISORY: Getting Surveillance Right: Another Look at FISA

with Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-CA)
September 19, 2007, 9:00am10:30am

A light breakfast will be served at 8:30 a.m.

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Featured Panelists:
Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA)
Bruce Fein, Principal of the Lichfield Group and former senior official in the Reagan Justice Department
Greg Nojeim, Senior Counsel and Director of the Center for Democracy & Technology’s Project on Freedom, Security, and Technology

Moderated by:
Morton H. Halperin, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress Action Fund

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.


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Rep. Jane Harman is a leading congressional expert on terrorism, homeland security, and foreign affairs. She was first elected in 1992 to represent California’s 36th congressional district in Los Angeles’ South Bay.

In 2006, Harman completed eight years of service on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence–the final four as Ranking Member–where she played a lead role in the creation and passage of the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004. She was also a familiar voice and frequent administration critic on Iraq post-war policy and the need for a legal framework for post-9/11 policy on detentions, interrogations, and the government’s surveillance of American citizens.

In the 110th Congress, her seventh term, Harman remains a senior member of the Homeland Security Committee (and is Chair of its Intelligence, Information-Sharing, and Terrorism Risk Assessment Subcommittee) and returns to the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Prior to her election to Congress, Harman worked as an attorney, served as deputy secretary to the Cabinet in the Carter White House and as special counsel to the Department of Defense. Harman began her career on Capitol Hill as chief counsel and staff director for the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights.

Bruce Fein commands impressive experience and influence in the corridors of both national and international power. He graduated from Harvard Law School with honors in 1972. After a coveted federal judicial clerkship, he joined the U.S. Department of Justice where he served as assistant director of the Office of Legal Policy, legal adviser to the Assistant Attorney General for antitrust, and the Associate Deputy Attorney General. Mr. Fein then was appointed general counsel of the Federal Communications Commission, followed by an appointment as research director for the Joint Congressional Committee on Covert Arms Sales to Iran. He recently served on the American Bar Association’s Task Force on Presidential signing statements.

He is frequently quoted in The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, and other major national publications. He has been featured on the cover of the American Bar Association Journal, the legal profession’s most prestigious publication.

He has authored several volumes on the United States Supreme Court, the United States Constitution, and international law. He has assisted three dozen countries in constitutional revision, including Russia, Spain, South Africa, Iraq, Cyprus, and Mozambique, and consulted foreign nations on matters ranging from telecommunications and cable regulation to sugar quotas, oil and gas pipelines, immigration, election laws, and human rights.

Mr. Fein has been an adjunct scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, a resident scholar at the Heritage Foundation, a lecturer at the Brookings Institute, and an adjunct professor at George Washington University. He has also been executive editor of World Intelligence Review, a periodical devoted to national security and intelligence issues. He regularly lectures to foreign guests and dignitaries visiting the United States on behalf of the State Department.

At present, he writes regular columns for The Washington Times and Slate devoted to legal and international affairs. He is a guest columnist for numerous other newspapers, and articles for professional and lay journals. He is often invited to testify regularly before Congress and administrative agencies by both Democrats and Republicans. He appears regularly on national and international television, cable, and radio programs as an expert in foreign affairs, international and constitutional law, telecommunications, terrorism, national security, and related subjects. He is a regular guest at the BBC, C-SPAN, CNN, Reuters, MSNBC, and NPR.

Gregory T. Nojeim is a Senior Counsel at the Center for Democracy & Technology and the Director of its Project on Freedom, Security, and Technology. CDT is a Washington-based nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting democratic values and constitutional liberties in the digital age. In this capacity, Nojeim conducts much of CDT’s work in the areas of national security, terrorism, and Fourth Amendment protections. Nojeim is also Co-Chair of the Coordinating Committee on National Security and Civil Liberties of the Individual Rights and Responsibilities Section of the American Bar Association.

Nojeim works to limit the threat to privacy posed by governmental wiretapping and monitoring of Internet communications. He was instrumental in bringing together the broad coalition of groups from across the political spectrum that worked to strip overly intrusive wiretapping proposals from the 1996 anti-terrorism law. He has substantial expertise on the application of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and on the civil liberties protections it affords. Other areas of his expertise include governmental data mining, the PATRIOT Act, the state secrets privilege, and the privacy implications of aviation security measures.

Prior to joining CDT in May 2007, Nojeim was for five years a Legislative Counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union and for seven years the Associate Director and Chief Legislative Counsel of the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office. There, he was responsible for analyzing the civil liberties implications of federal legislation relating to terrorism, national security, immigration and informational privacy. He frequently testified before congressional committees and the various commissions Congress establishes on anti-terrorism legislation and aviation security legislation. Nojeim testified before Congress about counterterrorism proposals following the Sept. 11 attacks and the Oklahoma City bombing, the use of secret evidence in immigration proceedings, driver’s license privacy, aviation security profiling and intrusive body-scan technologies, and the threat to civil liberties posed by national ID cards.

Morton H. Halperin is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. He is also the Executive Director of the Open Society Policy Center and the Director of U.S. Advocacy for the Open Society Institute. Halperin served in the federal government in the Clinton, Nixon, and Johnson administrations, most recently from December 1998 to January 2001 as Director of the Policy Planning Staff at the Department of State. In the Clinton administration, he was also Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Democracy at the National Security Council, a consultant to the Secretary of Defense and the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, and was nominated by the president for the position of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Democracy and Peacekeeping. In 1969, he was a Senior Staff member of the National Security Council responsible for National Security Planning. From July 1966 to January 1969, he worked in the Department of Defense, where he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, responsible for political-military planning and arms control.