Today, Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12) issued the following statement in reaction to President Obama's announcement regarding transparency and other proposed reforms to the National Security Agency's intelligence collection programs in the wake of Edward Snowden's revelations:
Today, the President promised greater transparency with respect to NSA's intelligence gathering efforts," said Holt. "Edward Snowden had provided us with some transparency, but far more is required. What we need is for our Intelligence agencies to follow the Constitution.
"Transparency should not come about only through illegal acts such as Edward Snowden's. While I welcome the President's statement, greater transparency is only a first step. The President must acknowledge what a clear majority of Americans know: our government has violated the law by collecting the communications of millions of innocent U.S. citizens. He should, today, fully declassify the 2011 FISA court opinion that details those violations of law. He should embrace my proposal to end blanket, warrantless surveillance against our citizens. And if he is truly serious about supporting greater protections for national security whistleblowers, he should support my proposal to provide them with real legal protections."
"The fact that the President took these steps is a recognition of the seriousness of the problem. I welcome these steps, although it raises the question of why we are seeing this only now after Snowden's leaks. The Intelligence Community was not forthcoming in the past and is coming clean only now, not as part of an ongoing effort by the Intelligence Community to inform the American public and involve them in establishing a policy consistent with American law and principles."
Last month, Holt introduced the "Surveillance State Repeal Act" (HR 2818), which would repeal the PATRIOT Act, the FISA Amendments Act, and improve national security whistleblower protections.