FROM Daniel Gallington
How Much Surveillance Will Americans Tolerate? Section 215 of the Patriot Act expires at the end of next month. It authorizes the bulk collection of American telephone records by the National Security Agency — part of what was revealed by Edward Snowden two years ago. President Obama says it's not really needed to keep America safe and that he's willing to let it expire . But Congress is divided. While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants it renewed , a House Committee wants it amended to require the NSA to take court action before collecting some information. With time for action running short, do most Americans understand what's at stake for their privacy? Do they really care?
Crunch Time for Reforming the NSA Since Edward Snowden revealed that the National Security Agency tracks every American phone call, President Obama has been under pressure. In a speech Friday, he'll try to balance demands for privacy against the rule that, when it comes to acts of terror, intelligence agencies can't be wrong — even once. But, while the NSA claims its massive collection of "metadata" has made America safer, both a White House panel and independent research are suggesting otherwise. We look at the President's options, including increased oversight by the courts and Congress and limits on the who, when and why of NSA spying.
America's top diplomat faces challenges in Asia Whatever happened to America's "pivot to Asia?" That's just one of the questions left hanging since Rex Tillerson's first trip there as Secretary of State. Is the Trump Administration hoping to change Foreign Policy or maintain the status quo?
Political appointments and the reshaping of the judiciary President Trump has the chance for a long-term impact -- not just on the US Supreme Court, but on the entire federal court system. And his nominees are likely to get the support of a massive spending campaign by donors who don't have to reveal their names. Can President Trump "pack" the federal court system?
The 'deconstruction' of the administrative state President Trump has failed to fill high-level positions in important agencies — and some people he has named want to phase out the agencies they're supposed to lead. We look at the possible consequences for delivering services and providing security — and at top aide Steve Bannon's plans for "deconstructing the administrative state."