Last month’s announcement of a Senate review of America’s surveillance activities was met with no small measure of doubt, with questions about whether the closed-door review would amount to little more than a whitewash.
This doubt seems all the more reasonable with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D – CA), an unashamed surveillance advocate, at the center of the review. Still, as details emerge there seems to be hope that the review is sufficiently broad and far-reaching to have some impact.
The two stage review will begin later this month, first examining how the spying community gets its orders, and followed by a much longer secondary stage on the structure of data collection schemes. The whole process is expected to take nine months.
“Folks should not be skeptical,” insisted one Senate aide quoted by Foreign Policy. And while there might be some serious hope for reform, the intelligence community’s willingness to flat out lie to Congress and the number of senators eagerly in their back pocket mean that skepticism remains a perfectly reasonable reaction until they actually do something.