The NSA Domestic Surveillance Program: An Analysis of Congressional Oversight During an Era of One-Party Rule

On December 16, 2005, the New York Times sounded a fire alarm when it revealed that, in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks, President George W Bush had issued a secret executive order permitting the National Security Agency (NSA) to conduct warrantless surveillance on individuals to unearth nascent terrorist activity. Congress responded to the disclosure of the NSA domestic surveillance program largely by shirking its oversight duties. This Note argues that when a single party controls both the executive and the legislative branches, the fire-alarm model fails to provide sufficient congressional oversight. Short of future elections altering the balance of power this Note argues that Congress should seek new methods that readily engage bipartisan support and judicial review to oversee secret executive programs more effectively.