A Citizen’s Proposal: Presidential Commission on National Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism
The Electronic Frontier Foundation and others have called for the creation of a commission like the Church Commission to investigate allegations of para-Constitutional but legal use of mass surveillance on US citizens. The Church Commission actually had a broader mandate and so should any current commission.
This proposal seeks the most practical way to honestly and truthfully deal with allegations that have arisen against national intelligence and counter-terrorism operations of the US government.
Senator Ron Wyden, Chair
Senator Johnny Isakson
Senator Amy Klobuchar
Rep. John Conyers
Rep. Walter Jones (NC)
Rep. Keith Ellison
Rep. Mark Amodei
The Commission shall investigate all allegations of extra-Constitutional and para-Constitutional action in US intelligence and counter-terrorism activities since the the Church Commission was impaneled.
The Commission shall consider the actions of, but not limited to, the following agencies: Office of Director of National Intelligence, Department of Defense, Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Justice, Department of State, Department of Homeland Security. It shall consider the actions of employees and contractors of these agencies and the actions of any coordinating or grantee jurisdictions, including foreign nations.
The Commission shall have the power to declassify materials necessary to presentations of its work to public scrutiny or for referral to Article III federal courts.
The Commission shall have the power to subpoena any public or private individual witnesses or documents necessary for its work. Witnesses shall be immunized or otherwise protected from retaliation by management as a result of their testimony.
The Commission shall consider allegations of abuse or corruption presented in books, media reports, testimony of whistleblowers, government investigations, or other sources and shall identify them by date, location, and agency as an index.
The Commission shall produce a declassified report to the public of its findings.
The Commission shall consider the impact upon Constitutional government of state secrecy, including secret locations, secret personnel, secret information, secret budgets, secret laws, and other departures from an open society and make recommendations for expanding an open society while fulfilling national security requirements.
The Commission shall consider the difficulties that the large numbers of clearances and the overclassification of information, particularly to avoid accountability, impose on national security.
The Commission shall consider the use of informants, the inflation of charges brought by prosecutors against suspects, and determine whether these practices have resulted in the conviction or persecution of innocent people.
The Commission shall determine whether intelligence agencies have violated the Geneva Conventions specifically or other laws of war generally in their operations and shall refer cases for proseucution under US laws.
The Commission shall be financed out of contigency funds available to national intelligence agencies at the discretion of the President.
The Commission shall have at a minimum a chief of staff, counsel, technical staff familiar with the information technologies involved. amd other employees as they shall decide.
The Commission shall have the power to put persons testifying under oath.
The Commission shall solicit the advice of experts and advocates in preparing its recommendations for legislation or reorganization of national intelligence and counter-terrorism activities.
The Commission shall ground its recommendations in arguments that explain how the Constitutional guarantees of rights in the Bill of Rights will not be violated by implementation of its recommendations.