Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Judge Says It's Impossible to Balance Liberty, Security

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Judge Says It's Impossible to Balance Liberty, Security

Article excerpt

OKLAHOMA CITY - U.S. intelligence agencies work daily to prevent domestic and international terrorist attacks, but there's a fine line between keeping the country secure and infringing on personal liberties.

Chief Armed Forces Court of Appeals Judge James E. Baker said liberty and security are opposites, and balance cannot be achieved between the two. Baker was the keynote speaker Friday at the National Summit of Homeland Security Law, held Friday to Monday at the Oklahoma City University School of Law.

"In my view, the sometimes tension between security and liberty are best addressed not by laws but by an educated public, and public servants that are as focused on ethical choice as they are properly identifying legal options," he said.

He said ethics should be the foundation when decisions are made in secret. He said an attorney should ask questions about why something is being done, if there's a better way, and what the costs and consequences of that objective are.

"There's no formulaic answer to getting it right on security and liberty," he said. "What is needed is good process, because good process ensures the right people are in the room, and those people are well-informed about past practice and history, when has the government overreached in the past, and when have they gotten it right."

Many people still question if passing the Patriot Act in 2005 and 2006 was correct. Three provisions will expire in June. Those issues are the National Security Agency's ability to collect phone data from carriers, known as Section 215; the lone wolf section, which allows the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act to be used to monitor a non-U.S. citizen with known ties to an international terrorism group; and the roving wiretap provision, which allows the FBI to continue wiretapping a suspect if the person changes communication devices.

U.S. Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., said there will be much debate about reauthorizing the provisions and the checks and balances in those matters. …

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