Issue Position: National Security
The first job of the federal government is to protect the lives, liberty and sovereignty of America. Our nation's first line of defense is its intelligence gathering capability. The only way to prevent an attack is by having the knowledge and insight to be able to act rather than simply react. Whether that intelligence comes from the battlefield or the interception of communications made between terrorists overseas, knowing what is happening and what is being planned is critical to the protection of our troops overseas and Americans at home.
One of the biggest jobs facing Congress this year will be to reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). In the new FISA law, Congress must act to revise a nearly 30-year-old definition of electronic surveillance. When our foreign wiretap law was enacted in 1978, telephones were plugged into walls, cell phones did not exist, no one had heard of e-mail or the Internet, and blackberries were something you put on cereal. Just as technology has changed, we must change the way are laws are written to allow our intelligence agencies to provide us with the information necessary to protect Americans and American interests, while at the same time preserving and protecting the rights of law-abiding Americans.