As Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence I clearly understand the importance of passing comprehensive reform of our nation’s Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act – known as FISA.

Earlier this year the Director of National Intelligence -- Admiral McConnell -- told Congress that the United States was unable to conduct critical surveillance of foreign terrorists planning to conduct attacks inside the United States.  Why?  Because the intelligence community’s hands were tied because of the outdated FISA law. 

In response to the DNI’s concern, I was the lead sponsor of the legislation to update FISA -- the Protect America Act.  Congress passed and the President signed into law this important stop-gap legislation before we left for August recess.

While passage of the Protect America Act was essential to national security a permanent legislative fix is needed.  The stop-gap legislation we passed included a six month sunset, meaning it expires in February.  Also, the legislation did not include comprehensive reform.

America remains under serious threat of attack by al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.  It is critical that Congress give our law enforcement and intelligence operators the tools they need to stay ahead of the threat.
In order to stay ahead, Congress needs to act and pass a comprehensive legislative fix of FISA.