Failure to Act on FISA is Detrimental (Rep. J. Randy Forbes)
As a Member of the House Judiciary Committee, and having served as Ranking Member on the Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security Subcommittee, I have spent a lot of time trying to reform our FISA laws so that they are up-to-date with current technology and best protect our country from terrorists. I believe that it is imperative that Congress act responsibly and give the Director of National Intelligence the authority he needs to collect foreign intelligence information. It is clear that the House of Representatives has yet to do that.
While I understand that enacting this important legislation takes time and we need to come to a bipartisan agreement, House leadership has continued to play partisan games and stall real progress on coming to an agreement. The Senate has taken important steps forward to close the terrorist loophole in our intelligence laws. The Senate bill also grants liability protection to companies that helped the government after September 11. I believe this protection is critical if we want to prevent a chilling effect the next time we need help from the private sector to help the government protect the United States.
We need a long-term solution, not extension after extension. We need to give our intelligence officials – at home or on the battlefield – the assurance that the government stands behind them in the pursuit of terrorists who wish to do harm to our citizens. I cannot underscore enough the harm our failure to act would do to the safety and security of Americans – we, as elected officials entrusted with the public’s confidence – owe it to our constituents to keep them as safe as we possibly can. I call on the House leadership to allow us to vote on the long-term FISA bill passed by the Senate yesterday.