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IU Maurer professor offers recommendations for reforming the NSA

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To prevent the National Security Agency’s continued illegal surveillance and collection of metadata on foreign and domestic individuals, legal scholar Fred Cate is recommending more transparency and increased monitoring.
 
Cate is a professor at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law and the director of the Indiana University Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research. He submitted a list of 10 recommendations to the President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology in September.

“To be certain, many of the NSA’s activities must, in large part, be conducted in secret,” Cate wrote. “But this does not mean that those activities should be conducted free from effective oversight or that they should be immune from careful scrutiny as to whether their considerable costs are justified by appropriate benefits. Perhaps most importantly, they should not operate outside the law or be conducted in ways that are unnecessarily intrusive or costly or damaging – to personal privacy, to the U.S. economy, to the integrity and standing of the nation, or to the values that we purport to uphold.”

Among his recommendations, Cate is advocating for the establishment of an oversight agency, strengthening of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and reducing secrecy by disclosing key information to the public.

Cate compared the oversight agency to an intelligence version of the Federal Reserve Board or the Government Accountability Office. It would help the NSA think more broadly about its activities and provide credible and apolitical monitoring of the NSA as well as advise the legislative and executive branches on compliance issues and areas of concern.

He also suggested that the oversight agency could provide security-cleared attorneys to appear before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to prevent the court from rubber-stamping NSA requests.

While acknowledging that some surveillance activities should be kept private, Cate recommended the NSA disclose the broad outlines of its activities to the public. Moreover, Congress should prohibit outright secret data systems, secret legal interpretations and secret assertions of government power.

 “In no event, ever, must (the) need for secrecy be allowed to justify the absence of oversight or accountability, especially concerning activities such as surveillance of U.S. persons that threaten fundamental rights and risk altering the basic balance between the government and the governed,” Cate wrote. “Whatever we think of the good intentions of the current leadership of the NSA, this is the surest way to the abuse of power and, ultimately, to tyranny.”
 
 

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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