Feinstein at Stanford to discuss NSA, mass surveillance

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein will speak at Stanford next Thursday, May 28, about striking a balance between security and liberty at a time when Congress is considering legislation to reform the National Security Agency's mass surveillance programs.

Feinstein, D-Calif., is the final speaker in the yearlong Security Conundrum lecture series. She will engage in conversation with Stanford's Philip Taubman, a consulting professor at Stanford'sCenter for International Security and Cooperation and former Washington bureau chief of the New York Times.

Feinstein is expected to discuss Congress' role in overseeing America's intelligence agencies, such as the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency, and laws that govern their operations. The idea behind the Security Conundrum series is to invite national experts to Stanford to explore issues raised by the federal government's mass surveillance programs, especially in the area of national security, privacy and civil liberties.

The talk, titled "The Security Conundrum: An Evening with Senator Dianne Feinstein," is free and open to the public. It starts at 6:30 p.m., and will be held at the Cemex Auditorium, 641 Knight Way on campus. No TV cameras or film equipment are permitted. Advance registration is required – register here for tickets.

Feinstein has been at the center of the debate about the NSA since Edward Snowden's disclosures exposed an array of mass surveillance programs in 2013. She served as chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence from 2009-2014 and is now the ranking minority member.

Feinstein also played a leading role in the Senate investigation of the CIA detention and interrogation program following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. She pressed to make the Senate report public, and some parts of it were eventually released. A Stanford graduate, Feinstein has served in the U.S. Senate since 1993.

The Security Conundrum is co-sponsored by Stanford's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, the Center for International Security and Cooperation, the Hoover Institution, Stanford Continuing Studies, Stanford in Government and Stanford Law School.

Amy Zegart, CISAC co-director and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, has said CISAC and the Hoover Institution would conduct a similar series on international cybersecurity challenges in the coming academic year.

The Security Conundrum series for this past year included Gen. Michael Hayden, the former director of the National Security Agency and the CIA; journalist Barton Gellman; and former U.S. Sen. Mark Udall.