ABA President Robert J. Grey, Jr.

In keeping with the finest traditions of the American Bar Association, I am pleased to introduce the following series of essays regarding the USA PATRIOT Act and related topics. Later this year, the Congress will determine whether the provisions of the Act that are due to expire at the end of 2005 should be renewed. The ABA believes that an intensive review and thorough civil discourse on the provisions of the Act should precede the congressional vote.

Pursuant to ABA Section on Individual Rights and Responsibilities Report Nos. 112B and 118, the ABA passed resolutions urging the Congress "to conduct a thorough review of the implementation of the powers granted to the Executive Branch under the [USA PATRIOT] Act before considering legislation that would extend or further expand such powers ...." and "to conduct regular and timely oversight including public hearings ... to ensure that government investigations undertaken pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act ... do not violate the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments of the Constitution ...."

As Congress prepares for that review and oversight this year, the ABA is delighted to contribute to and promote public debate through the publication of this series of "point" and "counter-point" essay exchanges.

I extend my congratulations to the Standing Committee on Law and National Security and its chairman, Stewart Baker, for assembling some of the brightest minds in national security and privacy law for this important effort.