LESSON 4: STATUTORY LAW
4.8 Concluding Remarks on Statutory Law
4.8.2 Gaps in the Statutory Framework
Annotated Lecture Transcript
I’ve only just scratched the surface of critically important statutes like FISA and the National Security Act.
For now, you just need to know what the statutory framework looks like and where it’s found in the U.S. Code.
The later courses on IntelligenceLaw.com will be structured to help you master the substantive law governing all aspects of intelligence operations.
Once you’ve mastered the existing framework, you’ll then be in a position to spot the gaps that exist.
Ø If you’re taking the course as a civil liberties advocate, you’ll need to identify these gaps so you can seek to fill them with new legislation or regulations that better protects the rights of individuals.
Ø If you’re taking the course as an intelligence insider, you’ll need to know where these gaps are so you know how to exploit them to better achieve your agency’s intelligence mission.
I hope you didn’t find this material on statutes too challenging because the next lesson on administrative law is really where things get complicated.
 There are so many gaps in the current statutory framework governing intelligence agencies that it’s taken me years to structure my comprehensive course on intelligence law. For example, FISA was passed back in 1978 when wireless satellite communication seemed to be eclipsing wired communication, so the NSA lobbied to build FISA around governing interception of wire communication so it could intercept wireless communications at will. This became problematic with the advent of fiber optic communications, which now greatly dominate global communications. The NSA had become accustomed to unfettered surveillance under the wireless-friendly FISA statute, and it was unable to conform its culture of unfettered surveillance to the law when wired-restrictions began to take over. Some believe this is what led to the NSA Warrantless Surveillance Scandal that broke in December of 2005.