Reforming Surveillance Authorities

The President’s press conference last week was a disaster by most measures. Conor Friedersdorf has a good tit-for-tat followup. The President essentially denied the patriotism of a man who threw his life away to tell his fellow Americans about how their rights are being systematically violated, then seemed to strongly imply that a rigorous and responsible debate about surveillance was about to spring forth before NSA leaks ruined it. Tough sell, to say the least.

I chatted with Jim Harper about avenues for reforming these broad surveillance powers and a new brief filed by the Cato Institute in support of the Electronic Privacy Information Center’s case against the feds.

NSA’s Bulk Data Collection on the Defensive

I chatted with Justin Amash today about NSA bulk surveillance of Americans and the reaction to his struggle to rein in the agency. Here’s the video.

Spoilers below:

  • He thinks James Clapper should be prosecuted for lying to Congress in March.
  • He thinks Chris Christie’s hamfisted (couldn’t resist) attack on libertarian Republicans is pointless.
  • He doesn’t necessarily agree that the NSA leaker shouldn’t be prosecuted, which his colleague Thomas Massie has suggested.
  • James Clapper’s ‘Least Untruthful’ Statement to Congress

    Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s ‘least untruthful’ formulation of an answer to Ron Wyden made clear that the volume of information stored by the federal government about Americans’ communications has been dramatically understated. Julian Sanchez, a research fellow at the Cato Institute, argues that an honest debate about the supposed tradeoffs between liberty and security is one that can be had in public without giving over essential information to bad actors.