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Public Statements

Issue Position: Ethics and Government Accountability

Issue Position


NSA Domestic Warrantless Wiretapping

After September 11, 2001, the president secretly authorized a program to target communications where at least one party was outside the United States , and where there were reasonable grounds, as determined by the Administration, to believe that one or more parties involved in t he communication had ties to al-Qaeda.

I believe that in this time of heightened national security concerns, it is important to use all available means to bring to justice those who wish harm upon Americans. However, there are appropriate and legal ways to monitor suspected terrorists. Under existing laws, the President may surveil Americans by obtaining a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) courts. Th is Administration has rarely been denied a FISA warrant.

In broadening the authority of law enforcement to respond to recent homeland security concerns, we have to be careful that we do not impede upon the rights and privacy of all Americans afforded to them by the Constitution. I plan to take an active role in Congress in exercising our oversight into any policies that would weaken the civil rights of the American people . In fact, I recently voted in support of an amendment to the 2008 Intelligence Authorization Act that made sure the FISA system would be the exclusive means by which domestic electronic surveillance for the purpose of gathering foreign intelligence information may be conducted . This measure would bar future administrations from circumventing the FISA process in order to surveil American citizens and legal residents.

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