I supported S.2248, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which included the Title II limited immunity provision for telecommunications companies, because I believe this legislation is a first step in addressing the civil liberties and privacy concerns raised by the President’s Terrorist Surveillance Program. In addition, this legislation will provide our intelligence agencies with the tools and capabilities they require to defend all of us.

Protecting our civil liberties and the privacy of all Americans is fundamental to our founding principles, and violations of those principles should not be taken lightly. In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, our nation’s security became a top priority, and Americans came together willing to offer any assistance in our common defense. It is in this spirit of rallying to protect American lives that I believe the telecommunications companies now facing civil suits acted when they agreed to assist the President. In my opinion, these companies acted in good faith and that the cooperation the President sought was within the boundaries of our legal system.

We cherish our freedoms and liberties. They are the cornerstones of our American democracy that must be defended and protected, and it is this elusive and delicate balance that we constantly strive to achieve. We must not allow the actions of this Administration to jeopardize our nation’s security in the future. It is equally imprudent to ignore the impact those actions have on our freedoms and liberties, or we will concede the basic principles this nation was founded upon.