The attacks of September 11, 2001, underscored the need for robust intelligence tools to help protect our nation from the threat of terrorism. One such tool involves tracking terrorist communications overseas to gather information on future threats. Since May 1, we have not been listening to these calls. Because of advances in communications technology, terrorists have been able to talk to each other undetected by using our own telecommunications infrastructure and exploiting our laws. This loophole prevents our intelligence agencies from collecting critical data and hinders our ability to listen to what is happening. We cannot ignore this dangerous problem.

FISA must undergo a comprehensive overhaul. This will likely be a time consuming process and rightfully provoke productive debate. While I welcome this debate in the future, the threat we face today is real and immediate, and we must act to address the issue that is tying the hands of our intelligence community.

I have cosponsored a bill offered by Congresswoman Heather Wilson (R-N.M.), who serves on the House Intelligence Committee, to allow American agencies to listen to foreigners in foreign countries without a warrant. The bill would refine the definition of electronic surveillance to encompass all foreign communications by non-U.S. citizens. With this change, until we can fully modernize FISA, we can allow our intelligence community to intercept terrorist communications while continuing to protect the privacy rights of American citizens. Congress needs to pass this bill immediately to remove the barriers and ensure that we are doing everything possible this summer to detect and prevent potential attacks on the American people.