On Saturday morning Judge Royce Lamberth spoke at the ALA Washington Office update session. Judge Lamberth received his appointment to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in 1987, and presided over the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court from 1995 to 2007.
The session was conducted as a back and forth conversation between the judge and Tom Susman, an attorney at Ropes & Gray. Judge Lamberth was not only interesting, but also funny! He discussed national security issues including the process for approving and issuing FISA orders and the ways in which that process differs from the process for serving National Security Letters.
I would highly recommend viewing the podcast on the ALA Washington Office website. It runs for one hour and eight minutes, but I promise it is definitely worth watching.
Here is a pre-session write up from PR Newswire:
Judge Royce Lamberth to Provide Rare Look Inside FISA Court
WASHINGTON, June 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Judge Royce Lamberth, who presided over the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance -- commonly known as FISA -- Court from 1995 to 2002, will provide a rare look inside the secretive court on Sat., June 23 at the annual conference of the American Library Association. He will speak from 8-10:15 AM in Room 143-B of the Washington Convention Center, 801 Mt. Vernon Place, NW, Washington, DC. In an open conversation with Thomas Susman, partner in the Washington, DC, law firm of Ropes and Gray, U.S. District Court Judge Lamberth will discuss the inner workings of the FISA Court and how it has changed since passage of the 2001 USA PATRIOT Act. Susman specializes in legislative and regulatory law including homeland security and access to government information. Among the issues expected to be addressed are the status of the controversial FISA Court today, National Security Letters and provisions of the PATRIOT Act allowing the FBI access to library and bookstore records of private individuals. "Judge Lamberth is one of the few people with inside knowledge of the FISA Court who is willing to talk about it publicly," said Emily Sheketoff, director of the ALA's Washington Office. "His remarks promise to shed new light on hot-button issues as the nation struggles to balance its needs for national security with the civil liberties of its citizens." Judge Lamberth was appointed to U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in November 1987 and was named Presiding Judge of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in May 1995. He graduated from the University of Texas and from the University of Texas School of Law, receiving an LL.B. in 1967. He served as a Captain in the Judge Advocate General's Corps of the United States Army from 1968 to 1974 and became an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. In 1978 Judge Lamberth was named Chief of the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney's Office, a position he held until his appointment to the federal bench.