Constitution Check: Would a “public advocate” on spying be unconstitutional?

Constitution Check: Would a “public advocate” on spying be unconstitutional?
“To ensure that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court hears a broader range of privacy perspectives, the President called on Congress to authorize the establishment of a panel of advocates from outside the government to provide an independent voice in significant cases before the Court.”

—White House fact sheet issued January 17, explaining one of the proposals President Obama made to ensure that privacy risks of secret telephone data monitoring are considered by the special federal court that issues orders permitting that surveillance.

“Establishing a Public Interest Advocate….As both technology and the law have evolved over time, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court is sometimes presented with novel and complex issues of law.   The resolution of such issues would benefit from an adversary proceeding….We recommend that Congress should create a Public Interest Advocate who would have the authority to intervene in matters that raise such issues.”

– Excerpt from the December 12 report of the President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies.  The report is titled, Liberty and Security in a Changing World.
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