There are many different conversations happening in regard to the nation’s safety and security in light of the recent terror attacks in San Bernardino and Paris. Unfortunately, in a heated political climate and never-ending news cycle, facts are easily lost or misconstrued. 

But when it comes to our country’s security, it’s critical to get the facts straight.  

I authored both the PATRIOT and USA FREEDOM Acts, and as the national spotlight shines on the important issue of national security, I want to set the record straight on a few key facts that are often misrepresented in the mainstream media. 

1. Bulk data collection did not effectively prevent recent terror attacks
Select members of Congress and various media outlets claim that had the government continued mass data collection, it would have been able to identify and thwart terrorist activities. However, bulk data collection was still in place at the time of the Boston Marathon and Paris attacks, as well as the lead up to the shootings in San Bernardino, making those claims false. 

2. USA FREEDOM does not end bulk data collection
USA FREEDOM does not take away the ability to collect metadata from terror suspects. It stopped the bulk collection of innocent Americans’ records and established an efficient process for obtaining records from suspects, requiring the government to obtain a lawful order to access information. This respects citizens’ privacy while maintaining the highest standard of national security.

3. Phone companies have, and will continue to, collect phone records
Phone records are collected and stored by phone companies for business purposes. The length of time they decide to maintain these records is up to each individual company. However, it’s important to note that all records are still available for intelligence purposes through a more responsible and Constitutional process.

Debates on national security measures can be convoluted, but the main fact to remember is that USA FREEDOM is carefully balanced, bipartisan legislation that gives intelligence agencies the tools they need to keep America safe. Any claims to the contrary are baseless. Political posturing does not make this country safer and it isn’t a serious approach to the challenges we face.