A FISA Primer- Everything You Didn’t Know, You Didn’t Know

Program Number: 2878

Program Date: 10/01/2018

Description

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Electronic surveillance represents the most important foreign intelligence collection tool available to the U.S. government. Correspondingly, the ability to surveil constitutes one of those activities most susceptible to abuse by a government against its citizens.

For years, electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes was considered an exclusively Executive Branch authority, and every president from Franklin Roosevelt to Richard Nixon authorized its use. When serious abuses by U.S. intelligence agencies were revealed during congressional hearings held in the aftermath of Watergate, Congress reacted by passing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act which, for the first time, subjected foreign intelligence electronic surveillance conducted in the United States to a statutory regimen that included approval by a newly created Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Today, there is more discussion, and controversy, about FISA than at virtually any other time in its history. This program is going to discuss the evolution of the use of electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence, the abuses that led to the passage of FISA, the expansion of FISA authorities in the aftermath of 9/11 and how they work, and what has put FISA in the spotlight today.

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Available in states

California, Colorado Eligible, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey Eligible, New York, New York - Experienced Attorneys Only, Texas Self Study

Credit Information

50 minute credit hour - 1.0 General CLE credit, based on a 50-minute credit hour
60 minute credit hour - 1.0 General CLE credit, based on a 60-minute credit hour

State Program Numbers

Credit Eligible for Experienced Attorneys Only in NY

Presenters


George W. Croner, Esq.

Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI)

George W. Croner, a Senior Fellow at FPRI, is a 1975 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy (with distinction) and a 1980 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School (with honors).

From 1984 through 1988, while holding the highest security clearance authorized by the U.S. government (TS/SCI), Mr. Croner served in the Operations Division of the Office of General Counsel at the National Security Agency (NSA) which had legal oversight responsibility for NSA’s signals intelligence (SIGINT) operations, including compliance with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). During this same period, Mr. Croner also was NSA’s principal litigation counsel and, in that capacity, represented NSA’s interests in a variety of litigation matters implicating the security interests of NSA’s SIGINT operations including: Westmoreland v. CBS (the defamation lawsuit brought by General William Westmoreland that raised issues concerning the intelligence information used to assess North Vietnamese troop strength during the Vietnam War); U.S. v. John Walker (espionage prosecution); U.S. v. Jerry Whitworth (espionage prosecution); U.S. v. Wu-tai Chin (espionage prosecution); and U.S. v. Ronald Pelton (espionage prosecution). The Pelton case, in particular, involved some of NSA’s then-most sensitive SIGINT collection programs. Mr. Croner was awarded a Defense Meritorious Service Medal (DMSM) for his work in connection with these espi-onage prosecutions.

In addition to these litigation matters, Mr. Croner also served as the NSA representative to the White House interagency group assembled to review and, where possible, declassify intelligence information associated with the Iran-Contra investigation. In this capacity he assisted the Tower Commission, congressional intelligence committees, and the Independent Counsel regarding security matters related to the use and understanding of NSA intelligence product.

For his efforts with the interagency group, Mr. Croner received a letter of appreciation from President Ronald Reagan, and was awarded a second DMSM.

Following his service with NSA, Mr. Croner spent 28 years in the private practice of law but, after leaving NSA, he maintained his interest in NSA and inelectronic surveillance as it relates to the collection of foreign intelligence information.

His work and publications regarding FISA, signals intelligence and foreign intelligence collection have appeared on multiple media platforms, and he is a member of the The Association of Former Intelligence Officers.

Articles

 

  • Out“Foxed”: The Vulpine Network Keeps Swinging and Missing at the Carter Page FISA Applications - E-Notes - August, 2018
  • The FISA Court’s Essential Purpose - E-Notes - August, 2018
  • The Carter Page FISA Applications: Much Risk to FISA, Little New Insight, But a Rebuff to the Nunes Narrative - E-Notes - July, 2018
  • Fact and Denial: Trump’s Inexplicable Refutation of the U.S. Intelligence Community’s Conclusion of Russian Election Interference - E-Notes - July, 2018
  • Intelligence “Oversight” or Forbidden Intrusion: How Far Can Congress Go? - E-Notes - June, 2018
  • The 2017 FISA Reporting Season Has Ended: What Do the Numbers Mean? - E-Notes - May, 2018
  • Trump’s First Year Sees a Record Number of FISA “Denials”: But What Do Those Numbers Mean? - E-Notes - May, 2018
  • Why So Secret? The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and the Unique Fragility of Communications Intelligence - E-Notes - March, 2018
  • Where’s the Beef? The House Intelligence Committee Memo Provides Few Answers and Leaves Many Questions - E-Notes - February, 2018
  • A Response to “Americans, the NSA is Still Listening: Section 702 is Alive and Well” - E-Notes - January, 2018
  • Terrorists, America is Still Listening: Section 702 is Alive and Well - E-Notes - January, 2018
  • The FISA Section 702 Saga: With Section 702 on the Brink of Expiring, Where Do Things Go From Here? - E-Notes - January, 2018
  • The Gun Lap: FISA Renewal in the Homestretch - E-Notes - December, 2017
  • Congress Skirmishes Over FISA Section 702: Will It Preserve the Intelligence Community’s “Crown Jewel” or Neuter It? - E-Notes - November, 2017
  • What’s to be Found in the “USA Liberty Act Of 2017”? - E-Notes - October, 2017
  • The Debate Over Foreign Intelligence Legislation: George Croner responds to Lawrence Husick - E-Notes - October, 2017
  • The Clock is Ticking: Why Congress Needs to Renew America’s Most Important Intelligence Collection Program, Parts I – IV - E-Notes - September, 2017
  • The Clock is Ticking: Why Congress Needs to Renew America’s Most Important Intelligence Collection Program, Part IV - E-Notes - September, 2017
  • The Clock is Ticking: Why Congress Needs to Renew America’s Most Important Intelligence Collection Program, Part III - E-Notes - September, 2017
  • The Clock is Ticking: Why Congress Needs to Renew America’s Most Important Intelligence Collection Program, Part II - E-Notes - September, 2017
  • The Clock is Ticking: Why Congress Needs to Renew America’s Most Important Intelligence Collection Program, Part I - E-Notes - September, 2017

 

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