House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) issued the statement below following the release of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board's (PCLOB) report regarding the bulk collection program of telephone data conducted under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, as well as on the operations of the FISA Court. The House Judiciary Committee, which has primary jurisdiction over the legal framework that governs our intelligence-gathering programs, plans to hold a hearing in the coming weeks on the recommendations made by the PCLOB today as well as those made recently by President Obama and the President's Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies.
Chairman Goodlatte: "The Section 215 bulk telephone data collection program is in need of significant reform in order to regain the trust of the American people and to protect our civil liberties. The House Judiciary Committee has conducted aggressive oversight on this issue and will review the conclusions made by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board in its report. Additionally, the Committee plans to hold a hearing soon to review the various recommendations recently made by President Obama, the President's Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies, and the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. We must ensure our nation's intelligence collection programs include real protections for Americans' civil liberties, robust oversight, and additional transparency.
"I look forward to working with Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, the Administration, our national security agencies, and civil liberties advocates, among others, to reform our foreign surveillance programs so that they restore the trust of the American people, protect Americans' civil liberties, and continue to protect Americans from further acts of terror."
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 from 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.