Intelligence officials open to opposition before surveillance court

"There's obviously issues we'll have to work through as to clearances and classifications and who would be there and what their role would be," he said. "But those are the kinds of discussions we do need to have."

Currently, FISA court judges review only the arguments from the government in favor of surveillance programs. 

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynSenators move to protect 'Dreamers' Democrats back down from shutdown threat Tax reform: Starting place for jobs, growth MORE (R-Texas) argued that an adversarial process "usually produces more information that allows the judge to make a better decision."

John Inglis, the deputy director of the National Security Agency said he would welcome a debate on the issue. Robert Litt, the general counsel for the Director of National Intelligence, cautioned that lawmakers should not try to make FISA review "mimic a criminal trial."