Friday, March 28, 2014

Conyers, Goodlatte, Sensenbrenner, and Scott Statement on President’s Proposed Changes to Intelligence-Gathering Programs

(WASHINGTON) – House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.) and Crime Subcommittee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-Va.) issued the joint statement below following President Obama’s proposal to end the bulk telephone data collection program operated under the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act (FISA) and reform other aspects of our nation’s intelligence gathering programs.

U.S. Representative
John Conyers, Jr.
“President Obama has outlined many good ideas to reform our nation’s surveillance programs, including ending the bulk telephone data collection program. However, these ideas need to be implemented through legislation that protects our privacy. As the Committee of primary jurisdiction, we look forward to continuing to work on legislation with members from both sides of the aisle on the House Judiciary Committee to strengthen some of the ideas put forth by the President. It’s imperative that we reform our nation’s intelligence-gathering programs so that we better protect our civil liberties and regain the trust of the American people.”

Background: Over the past several months, the House Judiciary Committee has conducted aggressive oversight of our nation’s intelligence-gathering programs operated under FISA.  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. And in February 2014, the Committee held a comprehensive hearing to examine the various recommendations to reform or end these programs made by President Obama, the President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies, and the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.

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