Anonymous Liberal found the Wainstein testimony I said I was going to go look for. I’ll come back to his summary of the extra goodies the Administration is requesting (the short version: they want to make it impossible for any case relating to wiretapping to go through normal courts, and they want to expand the universe of people who can make FISA certifications to include Monica Goodling non-Senate approved people the President designates).

But for the moment, I wanted to point to how downright welcoming of oversight the Administration has gotten–now that they want something from Congress.

Because we appreciate the need for regular and comprehensive reporting during the debate of renewal of this authority, we are committing to substantial reporting beyond that required by the statute. As we explained in our September 5, 2007, letter, we will provide the following reports and briefings to Congress over the course of the six-month renewal period:

  • we will make ourselves available to brief you and your staffs on the results of our first compliance review and after each subsequent review;
  • we will make available to you copies of the written reports of those reviews, with redactions as necessary to protect critical intelligence sources and methods;
  • we will give you update briefings every month on the results of further compliance reviews and generally on our use of the authority under section 105B; and,
  • because of the exceptional importance of making the new authority permanent and of enacting the remainder of the Administration’s proposal to modernize FISA, the Department will make appropriately redacted documents (accommodating the Intelligence Community’s need to protect critical intelligence sources and methods) concerning implementation of this new authority available, not only to the Intelligence committees, but also to members of the Judiciary committees and to their staff with the necessary clearances.

As I stated above, we already have completed the first compliance review and are prepared to brief you on that review whenever it is convenient for you. [my emphasis]

In other words, all that stuff that the Administration swears Congress can’t have going back to when the warrantless wiretap program was implemented? Well, going forward, Congress can have those things! Not a problem! In fact, we’ll do it at Congress’ convenience.

If it’s so fucking easy to brief Congress, I say we make precisely these reviews part of the ongoing process. About the ongoing program–and about the past.



Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel is an American journalist whose reporting specializes in security and civil liberties.