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Providing For Consideration Of H.R. 3074, Transportation, Housing And Urban Development, And Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


PROVIDING FOR CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 3074, TRANSPORTATION, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008 -- (House of Representatives - July 23, 2007)

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Mrs. WILSON of New Mexico. For those of you sitting in your offices tonight, and for those staff members who are watching this debate, I'd like you to listen real carefully to what I have to say because I think it's important, probably more important than many of the things that we do around here.

We are going to have a vote tonight on the previous question on this rule. And if the previous question is defeated, I will immediately bring to the floor an amendment that will update important elements of the foreign intelligence surveillance law.

On May 1, in an unclassified session in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Admiral Mike McConnell, who's the Director of National Intelligence, urged the Congress to modernize this law. And he said this: ``We are actually missing a significant portion of what we should be getting.''

And today the Attorney General of the United States wrote to the Congress and said that merely adding resources will not solve the critical problem that we face.

We are providing protections to foreign targets overseas. The law in this country should not require a warrant to use our communications systems to protect this country, and the irony is that is exactly what we're doing. Terrorists who are trying to kill Americans are using our communications networks, and we are forcing our intelligence agency to jump through hoops and get warrants to listen to foreigners in foreign countries communicating with each other.

We must update this law to protect Americans. Intelligence is our first line of defense in the war on terrorism. The administration has told us it is critical. The Members, Democrat and Republican, in the intelligence committees know that I'm telling the truth, and the leadership, both Democrat and Republican, know the same thing.

I would urge my colleagues to defeat the previous question, to immediately change these laws, and to protect Americans from terrorist attack.

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