Ask the President is launching this Thursday. Details aren’t public yet, but from the Twitter discussions so far, it seems like the basic idea is to provide a followon to Change.gov’s short-lived Open for Questions series [1, 2]: a way for people to submit potential questions and vote on what they think the best ones are.
This is the kind of stuff that Get FISA Right has done well in the past, for example finishing #5 in change.org‘s Ideas for Change in America. As well as resuming our dialog with President Obama, if we can get somebody to ask a FISA-related question at a White House press conference it’ll also be a great chance for publicity. FISA and the PATRIOT Act are starting to be in the news a little, and this is a different angle for reporters to cover; we got so much attention last summer that plenty of media folks know who we are. The story practically writes itself: “Following on their previous success on MyBO, the social network-savvy activists at Get FISA RIght have done it again …”
So even though we don’t know a lot about the format yet, let’s start thinking now about what kind of question we’d like to ask. Maybe something like:
What are President Obama’s plans to get FISA right?
In then-Senator Obama’s note on FISA last summer, he stated his opposition to telecom immunity, and talked of his intent to have the new attorney general review all domestic surveillance programs and “to make further recommendations on any steps needed to preserve civil liberties and to prevent executive branch abuse in the future.” Since you taking office, though, the Obama DOJ has followed the Bush Administration line on immunity and in the in the Al-Haramain case. When and how does President Obama intend to follow up on his campaign promises on FISA?
Once the site’s live on Thursday, we can work out how to promote our idea effectively — expect another blog post. For now, if you’re already on Twitter, please follow @GetFISARight. If you’re not on Twitter and Digg, please consider signing up!
Also, if you haven’t already read it, please check out Jim Burrows What does it mean to ‘get FISA right’? and weigh in with your opinions on what you think should be done.
PS: disclaimer: I’m also helping Ari promote Ask The President in general; my Launching “Ask The President” on Twitter (DRAFT) on Liminal States has more.