Jeffrey Rosen for Constitution Daily: Four ways Obama needs to control his spies

July 8th, 2013

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Constitution Daily
by Jeffrey Rosen
July 8, 2013

The White House’s response to the explosive revelations about the National Security Agency’s monitoring of Americans’ phone records and e-mails has essentially boiled down to this: Trust us, we’re doing this for your own good, and we’re going about it the right way.

But the public is not buying it. The president’s approval rating has dropped 8 points, and only 37 percent support the secret spying program, which, as currently implemented, may well violate the Fourth Amendment’s prohibitions against unreasonable searches and seizures.

The administration needs to curb the excesses of its surveillance programs, so that whatever national security benefits they provide no longer come at such great threat to personal freedoms. These are the moves to make:

Show us the Memos

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or the FISC, was set up by Congress in 1978 to supervise domestic eavesdropping. Before 9/11, intelligence agencies could seize from American citizens only certain types of information, like business records, and only when it was shown to be associated with a specific espionage or terrorism investigation.

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