The business that we are all somehow associated with—of contemplating war, preparing for war, deterring war, initiating war, prosecuting war, providing relief in war, ending war, recovering from war—is consequential. Getting as right as possible the intricate dance of decisions that define the initiation, conduct, and conclusion of warfare is incredibly important for societies. It also has varying degrees of impact on individuals, from merely defining the outlines of individual service members’ daily lives to shattering or ending the mental and physical existence of combatants and innocents.
Joel Brenner presents his critique of Professor Laura Donohue’s The Future of Foreign Intelligence, and its “full-throated denunciation of the entire legal framework regulating the government’s collection of data about American citizens and permanent residents.” He discusses her findings in detail, and in the end, finds that they both agree on a number of specific proposals, and “disagree profoundly on FISA’s rationale and constitutional limitations.”
The rich legal literature that has grown up to assess the constitutionality of bulk communications collection by the government has focused overwhelmingly—and understandably—on the challenge such programs pose to particular claims of individual right against the state, yet attempting to describe what seems troubling about bulk collection in terms of individual rights alone has significant doctrinal and conceptual limits.