Campus News

SPIA professor calls for Congressional oversight of domestic spying agencies

Loch Johnson, Regents and Meigs Professor in the School of Public and International Affairs, said there is a need for greater oversight and accountability of U.S. intelligence agencies during the 12th annual Founders Day Lecture Jan. 28 at the Chapel.

The lecture centered around counter-terrorism espionage since the 9/11 attacks, including revelations of widespread domestic surveillance.

“In a democracy, massive spying against citizens is profoundly wrong and dangerous,” Johnson said.

The author of more than 200 articles and essays, including 28 books on national security, Johnson has served in high-level positions in Washington, D.C.

The Founders Day Lecture recognizes the date the university was established—Jan. 27. On that day in 1785, the Georgia General Assembly adopted a charter establishing UGA as the nation’s first state-chartered institution of higher education.

Johnson, in his lecture titled “Accountability in the Shadowy World of Intelligence,” argued that the U.S. government was failing to live up to the constitutional principles of separation of powers in its attempts to prevent terrorist attacks.

Harkening to Abraham Baldwin and other members of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Johnson said the Founding Fathers supported a dispersion of power.

“Yet all too often, our contemporary leaders have abandoned these bedrock principles of American government,” Johnson said.

The student response to Johnson’s lecture was delivered by Megan White, a third-year Foundation Fellow from Johns Creek. She is majoring in international affairs and linguistics and minoring in French and Russian.

White called for the university to strengthen curricula to better prepare students to become leaders.

“In this, the university’s 229th birthday, I’d like to encourage the administration, faculty and students to continue to seek new ways to emphasize a full education so that this university may produce capable, well-prepared graduates for another 229 years,” White said.