The recent leaks of NSA programs to the Washington Post and Guardian newspapers have awakened a strong desire among many Americans to know more about how the Intelligence Community conducts its business.
Americans expect their government to do the utmost to protect our country, but that cannot mean trading our 4th Amendment right to privacy for the promise of security. Most Americans understand the need to “connect the dots” to avoid another 9/11, as long as the intelligence community has a legitimate need for the information it seeks and is no more intrusive than absolutely necessary.
Oversight is essential, and to the maximum degree possible, so is transparency.
When Congress first created the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) in 1978, it did so knowing that the Court would, by necessity, conduct much of its work in secret, as it was specially designed to handle highly classified requests from intelligence and law enforcement agencies.