Judge slams proposed privacy advocate
WASHINGTON — The U.S. judiciary told Congress on Tuesday it opposes the idea of having an independent privacy advocate on the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, while members of Congress lauded the idea at a Capitol Hill hearing.
Speaking for the entire U.S. judiciary, U.S. District Judge John D. Bates sent a letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee saying appointing an independent advocate to the secret surveillance court is unnecessary and possibly counterproductive, and he slammed other key reforms as adding too heavy a caseload to the secret court’s work. In FISA court hearings, judges only hear from the government seeking a spy warrant.
Bates said opening the proceeding to an advocate for privacy in general — who would never meet the suspect or be able to defend the charges against him — wouldn’t create the kind of back and forth seen in open criminal or civil court proceedings.
“Given the nature of FISA proceedings, the participation of an advocate would neither create a truly adversarial process nor constructively assist the courts in assessing the facts,” he wrote.
Members of the presidential task force that recommended such an advocate defended the proposal before the Senate Judiciary Committee, as did Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., during a hearing about the NSA’s surveillance programs Tuesday.
Cass Sunstein, a member of the Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies, said the secret court should not be making decisions on law or policy without an opposition voice.
Rules for posting comments
Comments posted below are from readers. In no way do they represent the view of Oahu Publishing Inc. or this newspaper. This is a public forum.
Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content but the newspaper is under no obligation to do so. Comment posters are solely responsible under the Communications Decency Act for comments posted on this Web site. Oahu Publishing Inc. is not liable for messages from third parties.
IP and email addresses of persons who post are not treated as confidential records and will be disclosed in response to valid legal process.
Do not post:
- Potentially libelous statements or damaging innuendo.
- Obscene, explicit, or racist language.
- Copyrighted materials of any sort without the express permission of the copyright holder.
- Personal attacks, insults or threats.
- The use of another person's real name to disguise your identity.
- Comments unrelated to the story.
If you believe that a commenter has not followed these guidelines, please click the FLAG icon below the comment.