The Senate Judiciary Committee will once again take up the debate over reforms to the Foreign Intelligence Surveilance Act (FISA) at 10 a.m. next Wednesday.
Scheduled to testify at the hearing's first session is Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Wainstein of the Department of Justice's national security division.
A second panel will follow with Edward Black, president and CEO of the Computer & Communications Industry Association; Patrick Philbin, partner at Kirkland & Ellis and former DOJ deputy assistant attorney general for national security; and Morton Halperin, director of U.S. advocacy at the Open Society Institute.
The hearing comes ahead of more Senate debate over a new bill to revise the hastily passed Protect America Act of 2007, a FISA amendment that expanded the government's abilities to wiretap communications without warrants.
Ahead of Wednesday, the committee's chairman, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) will be reviewing confidential documents that the White House Counsel's Office previously showed to members from the Senate Intelligence Committee.
That committee last week approved a FISA amendment that would give retroactive immunity to communications carriers that have assisted the government's warrantless spying efforts.
Wainstein and other administration officials have strongly argued for the controversial legal amnesty because they argue without it, pending suits will bankrupt the telecommunications industry and expose national security secrets.
The records to be examined by Leahy and Specter include legals opinions and presidential memos related to the warrantless surveillance program launched by President George W. Bush after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.