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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. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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