RESTORE ACT OF 2007 -- (House of Representatives - November 15, 2007)
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Mr. UDALL of New Mexico. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to voice my support for H.R. 3773--the Responsible Electronic Surveillance That is Overseen, Reviewed, and Effective (RESTORE) Act of 2007.
In August, Congress unfortunately passed the Protect America Act, a piece of legislation that allowed the surveillance activities of this Administration to go unchecked. Though I opposed that bill, the House was left little choice but to pass that flawed bill. While it is true that modernization of our foreign intelligence laws was necessary to meet the security and intelligence needs of this nation, the Protect America Act went beyond what was essential and instead allowed the continued infringement of American's civil liberties.
Thankfully, today we have before us a piece of legislation that gives the intelligence community the authority it needs to protect Americans while also protecting civil liberties that are the bedrock of our nation. This bill modernizes our foreign surveillance system and authorizes necessary funding for training, personnel and technology resources at DOJ, NSA and the FISA Court to expedite the FISA process. Additionally, it ensures that nothing inhibits lawful surveillance for the purpose of protecting the nation and the troops from threats posed by terrorists.
Also of great importance, unlike previous bills considered by the House, this bill includes vital checks and balances on the Administration. It prohibits warrantless surveillance of Americans and requires a court order before targeting Americans' phone calls or emails. It also requires a finding of probable cause before conducting surveillance on Americans abroad, which was not required under previous legislation. To ensure greater accountability, the legislation mandates audits on the
Administration's warrantless surveillance program and the communications collected under the program.
Most importantly, this legislation ensures that it is the courts and not the Administration that decides whether or not an American's communications are targeted. The bill requires the FISA Court to review targeting procedures to ensure that they are reasonably designed to protect Americans and target people outside the United States. It also requires the Court to review the Administration's compliance to ensure that when the government conducts electronic surveillance on Americans, it obtains traditional, individualized warrants from the FISA Court.
Mr. Speaker, for far too long this Administration has been able to extend its power and authority, often to the detriment and subversion of our nation's basic principles. Today, we are passing a bill that will finally curb the Administration's actions and restore a measure of accountability that has been sorely lacking for too long. For these reasons, I support the vitally necessary RESTORE Act.
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