House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) issued the statement below following the settlement reached between the U.S. Department of Justice and five Internet companies that will permit private companies new and additional ways to report data concerning requests for customer information under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
Chairman Goodlatte: "I am pleased that the Justice Department has worked jointly with American companies to identify more information that can be publicly reported about the size and scope of national security requests. This is one step that will help provide greater transparency to the American people about the nature of our intelligence-gathering programs. However, additional steps are needed in order to ensure our nation's intelligence collection programs include real protections for Americans' civil liberties, robust oversight, and additional transparency.
"I look forward to the House Judiciary Committee's upcoming hearing on the recommendations made by President Obama, the President's Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies, and the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. It's clear that we must take legislative action to regain the trust of the American people and protect our civil liberties."
Background: Chairman Goodlatte met with President Obama and a select group of members of Congress and Senators this month, as well as last August, to discuss reforms to our nation's surveillance programs. In addition, the House Judiciary Committee has closely examined this issue over the past several months. In July 2013, the Committee held a public hearing to examine the statutory authorities that govern certain surveillance programs operated under FISA, in which the Committee heard from officials from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and civil liberties groups. In September 2013, the Committee also held a classified hearing where members of the House Judiciary Committee were afforded the opportunity to further probe government officials from the DOJ, the ODNI, the NSA, and the FBI about our nation's surveillance programs.