The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, an independent organization within the executive branch with five presidentially nominated members, will hold its long-delayed hearing on proposed changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act on Monday after being delayed a full month due to the government shutdown.
The panel will hear from several high-level intelligence officials and both current and former Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judges on possible changes to the programs that have come under harsh scrutiny since their existence was revealed by former defense contractor Edward Snowden in June. It’s one of the panel’s last steps before providing an official list of proposed changes, chairman David Medine said last week.
The board hasn’t come to conclusions about (possible changes),” Medine said. “But before doing so, (we) really wanted to hear from the government on what effects the changes might have.”
Tasked with examining the USA Patriot Act 215 and FISA 702 programs in the immediate aftermath of Snowden’s leaks, the board has been reviewing the National Security Agency’s programs and their governing statutes since June. Medine said the board has considered a range of options - “from minor changes, even what the reactions would be if the programs weren’t available,” he said - some of which Medine said may go even further than changes proposed by Congress.
We’re not limiting ourselves to what’s been discussed publicly to date,” Medine said. “We’re certainly looking at a wide range of options, some of which may not have even had public discourse yet.”
Medine added that he expects the board’s official recommendations to come out soon after Monday’s hearing.