As the author of the PATRIOT Act, I can assure you that the bill never intended such an invasion of the privacy of innocent Americans. Earlier this week, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals decision confirmed what I’ve been saying since the program was revealed—bulk collection is illegal.
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the USA FREEDOM Act by a vote of 338-88. This bipartisan bill, which I introduced, bans bulk collection. By reining in the Administration’s surveillance abilities and increasing transparency, the bill improves privacy protections for American citizens. It also creates more targeted and effective surveillance tools, making our nation safer.
Backed by a wide spectrum of supporters, from civil libertarians to national security hawks, the USA FREEDOM Act strikes the delicate balance between preserving privacy rights and protecting our country from terrorist threats. With key provisions of the PATRIOT Act set to expire June 1, 2015, this bill is the most responsible path forward.
It is now up to the Senate to move quickly to pass the USA FREEDOM Act. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to stand up for civil liberties and national security by adopting these important reforms.
View Congressman Sensenbrenner’s Floor Statement, here.