On Demand Audio

An Examination of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (“FISA”): Past, Present, and Future

(104 reviews)

Produced on June 23, 2020

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Course Information

Time 61 minutes
Difficulty Intermediate
Categories Administrative

Course Description

This course, presented by seasoned practitioner Joshua Dratel, will offer a primer and practical guidance on the federal Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (“FISA”). Though FISA was initially designed for espionage investigations, it became a principal tool for counterterrorism and surveillance after 9/11. There is currently a line of cases challenging specific FISA programs that are percolating through the federal courts. Mr. Dratel will offer a thorough examination of current FISA trends and litigation, and provide practitioners not only with detailed navigation of FISA’s structure and programs but also with ideas and examples of how to challenge evidence acquired via FISA. Lastly, the course will also address the developing political climate for FISA – a climate that has experienced ebbs and flows since 9/11.

Learning objectives:

I. Review FISA’s background, history, provisions, and mechanics

II. Examine FISA case law fundamentals & trending legal issues in the courts

III. Discuss recent FISA reforms 

IV. Identify current FISA controversies 

V. Provide tips for practitioners challenging FISA-acquired evidence

Credit Information

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Joshua Dratel

Law Offices of Joshua L. Dratel, P.C.

Joshua L. Dratel is an attorney in New York City, and practices criminal defense law in the state and federal courts nationwide. In his 32 years as a lawyer, his practice has included a wide range of matters, including “white collar,” “organized crime,” national security, extradition, drugs, sex offenses, and capital cases. He has testified as an expert witness on four occasions in extradition matters in the United Kingdom and Canada, and served as an expert in extradition matters in those jurisdictions in writing in several other cases.

He is a past President of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (2005), as well as former Chair of its Amicus Curiae Committee. He is also a Co-Chair of the Amicus Curiae Committee of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Chair of its National Security Committee, and a former member of its Board of Directors and Public Affairs Council. He serves as NACDL’s delegate to the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section Council, and serves on the Advisory Board of The Champion, NACDL’s monthly magazine. In addition, he is currently a Senior Fellow for Legal Research at the Fordham School of Law’s Center on National Security. Since 1988 he has been a member of the Criminal Justice Act panel in the Southern District of New York, and he is also a member of the Southern District of New York’s capital representation panel.

He was co-author of the 2003 Supplement of Practice Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, and his articles on a variety of criminal law subjects have appeared in The Champion, The Mouthpiece, and Criminal Justice Weekly. He is co-editor with Karen J. Greenberg of The Torture Papers: The Legal Road to Abu Ghraib (Cambridge University Press: 2005), a compendium of government memoranda, and The Enemy Combatant Papers: American Justice, the Courts, and the War on Terror (Cambridge Press: 2008), a digest of the litigation documents in the five most important enemy combatant cases.

He has lectured nationally on a variety of criminal law subjects for a variety of organizations, including NACDL, NYSACDL, the ABA, and U.S. Administrative Office of the Courts. In 2006, he was the recipient of NACDL’s Robert C. Heeney Award, that organization’s highest honor. In 2007, along with other lawyers representing Guantanamo Bay detainees, he was a recipient of the Frederick Douglass Human Rights Award from the Southern Center for Human Rights. In 2011, he received the Honorable Robert Louis Cohen Award for Excellence in the Practice of Criminal Law from the New York Criminal Bar Association. He is a 1978 Magna Cum Laude graduate of Columbia College, and a 1981 graduate of Harvard Law School.



Tucker C.

Probably the best presentation of any CLE I have attended.

Elise M.

Very informative, and a hot topic right now. Most interesting that it has not been reauthorized as of today.

Lauren P.

Very interesting

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