Last week, on January 16, 2020, Just Security and NYU School of Law’s Reiss Center on Law and Security convened a public panel to discuss reform of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), featuring a panel of former senior government officials and civil society experts to diagnose the problems and foster ideas for solutions. The full video of the event is below.

The idea for the panel discussion came in the wake of a recent report by the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) that made waves for its detailed criticism of the warrants obtained in the Carter Page case. A diverse range of lawmakers and commentators have renewed calls to reform the surveillance authorization process under FISA. Yet even with a growing consensus around the need for change, forging agreement on the nature and scope of the problem and the proper substance of FISA reforms remains challenging. The discussion addressed the findings of the OIG report, competing incentives for officials involved in the FISA process, comparisons to other investigations, and possible ways to detect and counteract flaws in the process.

The panel featured:

  • Liza Goitein, Director, Liberty & National Security Program, Brennan Center for Justice
  • Andrew McCabe, Legal Analyst, CNN; former Acting Director and Deputy Director of the FBI
  • Julian Sanchez, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute; Founding Editor, Just Security
  • Andrew Weissmann, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Reiss Center on Law and Security, NYU School of Law; former General Counsel, FBI and Senior Special Counsel for Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III
  • Adam Serwer (moderator), Staff Writer, the Atlantic

Just Security continues to publish a series of articles on the topic of FISA Reform in conjunction with the public event including by Goitein, Sanchez, and Weissmann, We invite others to join the conversation through letters to the editor or articles.  Stay tuned for a critical assessment by George Croner.

You can view the video of the discussion below.

Photo: ©Slezak: Courtesy of NYU Photo Bureau