In this Washington Post op ed Robinson notes
The modest reforms Obama proposed do not begin to address the fundamental question of whether we want the National Security Agency to log all of our phone calls and read at least some of our e-mails, relying on secret judicial orders from a secret court for permission. The president indicated he is willing to discuss how all this is done — but not whether.but not whether - that issues falls, of course, not just on the President, but also on the Congress, which established the legal framework within which this is occurring.
He is somewhat dismissive of the administration's white paper on what the NSA has been doing, where it notes that are medical or library records are not being included, then writing that
we have no way of knowing what other encroachments on the Bill of Rights the intelligence court might have blessed, because the court’s rulings are classified.Even if we change the legal framework to allow some adversarial argumentation by "privacy advocates" before the FISA court
What real difference would that make, though, if we are still denied the right to know about secret court rulings that redefine and abridge our constitutional rights? I’ll believe Obama is serious about reforming the intelligence court when he calls for all its interpretations of the law — without details of specific orders that would tip off terrorists — to be made public.And he puts a large share of the responsibility where it rightly belongs:
And I’ll believe Congress is serious when it clarifies the Patriot Act and other laws to spell out that the Constitution still applies. The NSA’s capability to obliterate privacy is rampaging ahead. The law desperately needs to catch up.to spell out that the Constitution still applies - what a remarkable idea. Something we should expect from an administration led by a man who as a Presidential candidate advertised himself as someone who had taught and respected and would follow that same Constitution.
Read Robinson's column.
You'll be glad you did.