Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "Imprisoned Wikileaks whistleblower Chelsea Manning has written a groundbreaking bill to reform the U.S. government's unpopular mass surveillance programs, starting by abolishing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court."
"She sent the bill to us at Fight for the Future and we're hosting it at https://www.FreeChelsea.com along with a petition calling for lawmakers to read this important bill. Chelsea has a column in The Guardian today where she explains why abolishing the Fisa courts are an essential first step to meaningful surveillance reform. She also wrote a piece on Medium about how she wrote this 129 page bill while serving a 35 year sentence and facing near constant harassment from Military officials in prison.
"Chelsea's bill even contains a proposed alternative to CISA. Now is an essential time for serious discussions about how to rein in these out of control intelligence programs. As a former intelligence analyst, Chelsea understands how they work better than most. Her bill and her voice are a welcome addition to the debate."
The solution: we should abolish the entire Fisa Court system and bring all surveillance requests into the oldest and most tested court system in America: the US district courts and courts of appeal.
Such a move is not a wildly unsafe idea: in the US, grand juries work in secrecy, and the US courts regularly deal with classified information. And the Fisa court itself doesn’t have separate personnel or facilities: it always “borrowed” US district judges and used district court premises. Physically, no-one would have to even move offices to institute a civilian review structure subject to oversight.
If Congress did abolish the Fisa courts, the Second Circuit ruling earlier this year would no longer be symbolic. In spirit and in law, the entire surveillance review system would end up where it probably should have started in the first place after the Church Committee: in a tried and true, real and historically viable court system. And the American people could have more faith that our judicial branch wasn’t completely beholden to structures put into place by the executive and legislative branches to limit accountability.