Sen. Richard Blumenthal at HLS: Bring more accountability to the FISA Court

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Just hours after news outlets reported additional revelations Thursday morning concerning the scope of information gathered by the National Security Agency, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) delivered an address at Harvard Law School on proposed legislation to reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Blumenthal stressed his deep respect for the intelligence agencies and institutions whose work has saved American lives. But, he warned, “trust and credibility depends on the appearance of fairness and accountability, and my fear is that some of those agencies and institutions are in peril of losing it.”

The senator proposed two pieces of legislation, co-sponsored by Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.), aimed at addressing the court’s procedural issues.

FISA proceedings do not involve a traditional adversarial process, and instead the FISA court hears only the government’s interpretation of the law and the Constitution. The FISA Court Reform Act would create a special advocate whose role would be “to defend the Constitution” during FISA court proceedings and who could request that the court’s rulings or opinions, which are currently classified, be made public.

Read more on the Harvard Law School website.