I've been starting to follow surveillance issues (e.g. NSA, etc) and ran across a post at a blog I have started to read: The Kris Paper, and the Problematic FISC Opinion.
The June 2013 disclosures gave rise to public discussions concerning the FISC, and in particular concerning (1) the selection method for its judges; and (2) the possibility of something approaching inter partes litigation on at least certain matters before the court. Although there is no real evidence of problems in the current process for selecting FISA Court judges, under which the Chief Justice makes the appointments, the vast majority of the Members of the FISC were appointed by Republican Presidents, and it would be relatively easy to change the selection process if desired. The possibility of a civil liberties advocate in the FISC is a more significant and difficult issue. (italics added) (page 35 of the PDF)
That last line just jumped out at me: did Kris realize what he ws writing? Doesn't "The possibility of a civil liberties advocate in the FISC is a more significant and difficult issue" stricke you as an odd and troubling statement? One would have thought that every member of the FISC would be a civil libertarian. Along with a host of other things. But one would have hoped that every judge on FISC would have a deep, sincere commitment to the freedoms on which our Constitution is based. Yet an extremely accomplished observer of the FISC. Kris, suggest that such commitment to civil liberties (as opposed to Federal Security State Supremacy?) would be problematic.
Then again, what is the opposite of a "civil libertarian"? I don't really know but maybe opposite of "civil libertarian" is "authoritarian" in which case Kris statement makes sense.
* My initial take is that many establishment experts in this field are so bamboozled by the layers of law and procedure relating to privacy, along with some legitimately knotty problems, that there is not a lot of fresh thinking.