A Major Victory for the American People
Congressman Roskam Op-Ed
Washington, Aug 8 - Imagine this scenario al Qaeda insurgents in Iraq ambush an Army unit on patrol just outside of Baghdad, killing five Americans and taking three more as hostages. The very moment U.S. intelligence officers hear of the missing Americans they spring into action to monitor communications that could lead to the suspected captors.
But there is a catch.
The U.S. Intelligence Community did not have the authority to immediately monitor this terrorist communications. Even worse, this horrifying scenario is not a hypothetical, it occurred this past May.
In typical bureaucratic fashion, our nation's first action following the three soldier's abduction was to obtain mandatory emergency warrants to legally' monitor the communications of their terrorist captors.
Foreign-to-foreign communication is often rerouted through U.S. communications networks triggering this mandatory FISA warrant. This burdensome and unnecessary legal red tape can eat up precious hours that otherwise could have been spent gathering vital information.
As in many intelligence gathering operations, the first few hours usually offer the most crucial information. In situations like this, every second counts.
During a time of heightened threats from global terrorism it is essential we use every tool constitutionally possible to thwart terrorist attacks.
I am proud to say that after months of Republican pressure, the House finally closed the dangerous loophole and updated FISA to properly guard our nation against terrorist threats.
Although this legislation is a major victory for the American people, it is scheduled to sunset in six months. It is my sincere hope, that this Congress can come together to pass comprehensive updates to FISA, modernizing this important anti-terror tool for the 21st Century. The dangers are far too great.