Since 9/11, the US government’s surveillance powers have expanded dramatically, both because of technological advances and because of amendments to the governing statutes, including the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Many believe that existing surveillance authorities are unconstitutional, but various legal doctrines—the state secrets privilege and the “standing” doctrine, in particular—have shielded these authorities from judicial review.
Open Society Fellow Jameel Jaffer, who argued a surveillance challenge before the U.S. Supreme Court last fall, discussed the scope of the government’s surveillance authorities, the efforts of the ACLU and other advocacy organizations to challenge these authorities in court, and ongoing debates about how much the public should know about the use and abuse of these authorities. Jaffer is writing a book focusing on privacy, secrecy, and the “War on Terror.”
National Security and Human Rights Campaign Manager Lisa Magarrell moderated.