The struggle to balance the nation’s need for national security with the civil liberties of its citizens is at a crucial juncture. Since passage of the 2001 USA PATRIOT Act, concerns have been growing about the appropriate balance between the two sometimes conflicting goals.

Against this backdrop, Judge Royce Lamberth, who presided over the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance – commonly known as FISA – Court from 1995 to 2002, will provide a rare look inside the secretive court.

He will speak on Sat., June 23 at the annual conference of the American Library Association, from 8-10:15 AM in Room 143-B of the Washington Convention Center, 801 Mt. Vernon Place, NW, Washington, DC.

In an open conversation with Thomas Susman, partner in the Washington, DC, law firm of Ropes and Gray, U.S. District Court Judge Lamberth will discuss the inner workings of the FISA Court and how it has changed since passage of the 2001 USA PATRIOT Act.

Judge Lamberth is one of the few people with inside knowledge of the FISA Court who is willing to talk about it publicly.

Among the issues expected to be addressed are the status of the controversial FISA Court today, National Security Letters and provisions of the PATRIOT Act allowing the FBI access to library and bookstore records of private individuals.

Surveillance has become an increasingly important issue since April 2007, when the Justice Department's Inspector General found numerous violations of policy and law in the FBI's use of National Security Letters. In a 6/14/2007, front-page story, The Washington Post reported more violations concerning the collection of data on individuals by the FBI while conducting domestic surveillance.