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Press Releases - House Passes Terrorist Surveillance Bill

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Location: Washington, DC

House Passes Terrorist Surveillance Bill

WASHINGTON - Wisconsin's First District Congressman Paul Ryan voted yesterday in favor of legislation to update our nation's foreign intelligence surveillance laws to make it easier to monitor terrorist communications and protect our country from attacks. The House passed this measure - H.R. 5825, the Electronic Surveillance Modernization Act - last night by a vote of 232-191.

The legislation amends the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which was passed in 1978, to account for developments in technology and the changing nature of threats to our national security since that time. It establishes rules under which U.S. intelligence agencies may conduct targeted surveillance of terrorists' communications and strengthens congressional oversight of such surveillance. The bill includes safeguards such as time limits, notification requirements, and reviews to protect the privacy of ordinary Americans who are not communicating with terrorists.

"This bill sets the ground rules for our intelligence agencies so they can combat the threat of terrorism and work to prevent future attacks within the framework of our laws," Ryan said. "We need the ability to listen in when someone is communicating with al Qaeda overseas and planning strikes against Americans. At the same time, Congress must exercise careful oversight to protect the privacy of innocent citizens and make sure that this surveillance is directed against terrorists and those who assist them."

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