First, we need to ensure that all government surveillance programs that affect privacy and constitutional rights have a unique benefit. The government should be able to tell the American people whether information necessary to impede violent attacks could not be gained by more individualized surveillance measures.
Second, we must guarantee protection for the rights of the American public during hearings of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or FISA court. The FISA court approves government requests for surveillance under the PATRIOT Act and FISA, but these proceedings are currently one-sided — no lawyer represents the rights of millions of people living in the United States whose personal information will be collected. A permanent panel of attorneys should be created to advocate on behalf of the American public before the FISA court.
Third, the government should facilitate transparency by publicly releasing declassified versions of legal documents that substantively interpret the PATRIOT Act and FISA.
Finally, the executive branch should promote government accountability and greater public awareness by releasing comprehensive reports on national security policies and surveillance programs.