How the Snowden Leaks Are Leveling the Oversight Playing Field

Later On

Philip Bump writes at the Atlantic Wire:

“We are overseen by everybody,” NSA Chief Keith Alexander lamented last year, reiterating, as he likes to do, that the agency’s surveillance is subservient to all three branches of government. Congress passes the laws, the judiciary evaluates them, and the executive branch implements them.

Except that Congress is generally kept in the dark on details. And except that courts have been stymied in assessing the constitutionality of the behavior behavior. Both thanks to the stinginess of Barack Obama’s executive branch that runs the show. Now, thanks to whistleblower Edward Snowden, that’s shifting.

Last week, we outlined the new, relatively modest push for reform in the legislative branch. Much of that reform centers on the role of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court, which is singularly responsible for assessing and approving the government’s requests for authorization to conduct surveillance activity. The…

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