Prepared Remarks of Kenneth L. Wainstein, Assistant Attorney General for National Security at the Georgetown University Law Cen

WASHINGTON, Sept. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following are prepared remarks of Kenneth L. Wainstein, Assistant Attorney General for National Security at the Georgetown University Law Center's National Security Center: September 10, 2007...


In fact, I was up in front of Congress last week and found that there were some members who had questions about it as well. And, maybe that's why Congress didn't grant us this authority on a permanent basis, but instead gave it to us with a six-month sunset.

While I'm not usually a fan of legislative sunsets and renewal periods, this is one renewal period I don't have much problem with. And that's because I see it as an opportunity.

I see it as an opportunity to clearly demonstrate to Congress -- and to the American people -- that we can use this authority both effectively and responsibly.

And that's something we're already starting to do. We have set up an oversight regime that goes way beyond what the statute requires. It includes rigorous internal agency audits by the agencies using this authority. And it includes regular, on-site compliance reviews by a team from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and the National Security Division (NSD) of the Department of Justice. This DNI/NSD team has already completed its first audit, and it will complete further audits every 30 days during this interim period to ensure full compliance with the implementation procedures.

We have also agreed to provide an unprecedented level of reporting to Congress. We are giving the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees copies of the procedures we are using to implement this authority; we have promised to give them comprehensive briefs about our implementation of this authority every month throughout this renewal period; and we have promised them the results and written reports of our compliance reviews.

We recognize an important truth here -- which is that we'll be allowed to keep this vital authority only if we show that we can use it responsibly. And, that's exactly what we're going to do. Over this six-month period, we're going to establish a track record that will persuade Congress and the American public that the Protect America Act was the right decision and that Congress turned in just the right direction when it reached that turning point back in early August.

I want to thank Neal Katyal, David Kris and Jim Baker for setting up this conference. FISA reform is a critically important issue, and from where I stand, I welcome this discussion. I feel that the more people understand FISA law and practice and how much we do to protect civil liberties, the more comfort people will have and the more likely we'll be given the tools we need to do our job - which is to protect our country and our liberties.

I appreciate you all coming here to be a part of this discussion, and I'll be happy to answer any questions.

SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice