POGO Brown Bag Lunch with Lou Fisher

michael July 23rd, 2008

During the summer, POGO hosts a weekly Brown Bag Lunch for Everett interns in the D.C. area who are curious about issues related to government oversight.  Our goal for the series is to educate upcoming generations about the importance of government accountability, and to give them the tools necessary to convert that knowledge into action.  The luncheons give us a unique opportunity to connect with top government experts in a casual setting (and to score some free pizza!).

At the beginning of the summer, we learned about the media’s coverage of defense issues from veteran reporters Tony Capaccio and Mike Fabey. On July 11th, we got the chance to hear from Louis Fisher from the Law Library of Congress, a widely respected expert on separation of powers.

Mr. Fisher spent most of the lunch talking about the history of the “state secrets privilege,” in which the government, particularly the executive branch, can deny access to documents, particularly for use in court, by claiming that the documents contain state secrets.

Mr. Fisher also discussed Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and NSA surveillance, the CIA’s “extraordinary renditions” program (in which terrorist suspects are abducted and transported to other countries to be imprisoned and often tortured or abused), examples of executive branch misconduct, the failure of the legislative and judicial branches to provide proper checks on power, and widespread misconceptions about how the Constitution separates powers.

– John Cappel
POGO Everett Intern

Check out some pictures below from the lunch!