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tv   U.S. Senate Debate on FISA Reauthorization  CSPAN  January 17, 2018 2:30am-3:27am EST

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the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, i find myself in strong agreement with
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the comments of the senator from new york state. also he has talked about 702, and let me refer to that a bit. section 702 is in s. 139, the amendments reauthorization act of 117. we're going to vote very soon whether to cut off debate and block any amendments on the fundamentally flawed piece of legislation that fails to reform one of our most important surveillance tools. section 702 of the fisa amendment act was intended to provide for vast and powerful surveillance of foreigners overseas who might do harm to us, and it does. but the fact that it is an
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effective surveillance tool used against foreigners abroad is not the concern you hear about today. today you're going to hear a concern that section 702 has become an unexpected and powerful domestic surveillance tool. not one directed at those abroad who might do us harm but potentially directed at every single american in this room and throughout this country, allowing the government to search for america's e-mails and other substantive communications, do it without a warrant. the so-called back-door loophole. if we put here legislation saying this legislation will allow our government to search all our e-mails without a parent, republicans and democrats would be jumping up and saying wait a minute, that
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violates the fourth amendment. well, the legislation we're voting on today authored by the chairman of the house intelligence committee, devin nunez, contains what his supporters say is a fig leaf of reform, but in fact the legislation makes a bad problem even worse. i'm going to oppose cutting out debate on this bill. i strongly urge my fellow senators to do the same. not to kill the bill but to afford us on such a critical surveillance tool the opportunity to debate the constitutional implications and to offer amendments to improve the bill and to protect americans from every single state in this country. the majority leader has provided us no such opportunity. he doesn't want us to offer any amendments, even amendments that we know could pass for the bipartisan majority.
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senator lee and i are filing several amendments to approve this bill, including the u.s.a. liberty act. that's a senate companion to a bill that was reported out of the house judiciary committee in a strong and very bipartisan vote. our amendment offers a sensible compromise. it would protect national security, something that we all want to do, but it also protects americans' civil liberties, which i hope we also want to do. i strongly support a warrant requirement based on senator feinstein's amendment to the senate intelligence committee that would close the back-door loophole. these amendments, others offered by senators wyden deserve a vote. senator lee and senator paul have spoken so strongly on the problems of this. we ought to be heard. they ought to have a chance to offer amendments. instead the only bill we're voting on today is a house bill
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which fails to comply with a fundamental constitutional imperative. i think we can do better in the united states senate than to accept a flawed house bill. and do not be deceived by the sham warrant contained in that nunez bill. again why we should have a senate bill that speaks to those things we know as senators and not the flawed warrant in the nunez bill. that warrant -- the exemptions are so large, it renders it meaningless, to require a warrant only during the final stage of a criminal investigation, and only when the government believes national security risks delay for bodily harm are not implicated, not implicated at some undefined point in time. in all other cases, at a previous point in the investigation. the government can search for americans' information in the
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section 702 database just as frequently and casually as we might look up football scores on google. but even if it's completely ineffectual, the nunez bill has a warrant requirement. that means the sponsors of this flawed legislation acknowledge some form of warrant is required to protect americans' privacy. they recognize that if you search through a vast database of americans' communications, they can trigger fourth amendment protections when it's convenient to the government. the problem is the constitution doesn't say we protect americans' rights only if it's convenient to the government. the reason we wrote the constitution is to make sure every one of us have our protections against the government, not just when the government feels, okay, on this occasion, we'll let you have rights. when a, the government needs to obtain a warrant. if they're going to come and
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search your home, come and search your files, come and search your papers, they should have to have a warrant. the fourth amendment either applies or it does not. if it does not, then let's have a constitutional amendment and do away with it. nobody here would vote for that. but even the sponsors of the nunez bill now agree the fourth amendment applies. the only question is whether they have requirement or a warrant in name only. simply calling something a warrant doesn't make it that. i firmly believe the real warrant requirement doesn't have to put our national security at risk. the reform proposal i support contains well-tried exij ents for circumstances to allow for emergencies. for these reasons and others, i strongly support a warrant requirement to close the back-door loophole, and i think my fellow senators, republicans and democrats, ought to be allowed to at least have a vote on it.
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if they don't, then i would urge my colleagues in the senate to vote no on invoking cloture. on the fisa amendment's reauthorization act. section 702 authorities to be temporarily extended as they were in december. in fact, the fisa court statutorily authorized certifications that permits 702 surveillance don't expire until the end of april. there is no emergency now. we still have the time and the ability to get this right. let's protect the constitution. let's protect americans. the majority leader should do his part. he should allow members on both sides of the aisle who careo ofr amendments before any long-term authorization. i agree section 702 is an important tool. but this issue is far too important to rush through without adequate debate. i think we could protect the
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national security, but we can protect the civil liberties of law-abiding americans. this bill falls short. i'm going to be voting no on cloture. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: mr. president, i want to thank chairman leahy for his excellent remarks, and let me simply say to move forward without amendments surrenders the constitutional obligation senators have to the american people. this issue is important. it is complicated. and the american people deserve to have an opportunity for some real amendments to make sure at the end of the day we have policies that keep our people safe and protect our liberties. a bipartisan coalition of us. i see my friend from kentucky
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here. he's joined by his colleague from utah, senator lee. senator leahy and i. our bipartisan coalition is dedicated to essentially one mission. we think the country deserves a senate that is very tough on terrorists. we don't take a back seat to anybody in terms of fighting terrorists. what we're opposed to is an end run on our sacred constitution. right now, with the changes in communication systems around the world and communication systems increasingly becoming globally interconnected, we have more and more law-abiding americans swept up in searches under the foreign intelligence surveillance act.
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and as i say, we want to fight terrorists, but the law allows the government to target foreigners to acquire foreign intelligence information, which basically means anything related to the conduct of foreign affairs. so let's talk about who could get swept up in these searches and who are the people that senator paul and senator lee and senator leahy and myself and colleagues on both sides of the aisle ought to have as law-abiding americans, we think they ought to have their constitutional rights. the kind of people who could be swept up in these communications and have their e-mails or texts, their data searched without a warrant could be american business people talking to foreign contacts.
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it could be first, second, or third-generation american immigrants talking to family and friends still overseas. american journalists covering foreign stories, u.s. service members talking to foreign friends they made while they were deployed, american teachers and researchers seeking information from foreigners. how many americans get swept up? we don't know. we don't know not because of a lack of effort. we've been trying for six years to get the government to provide even an estimate. my concern is on a number of these issues to ensure that we have both safety and liberty, we've actually gone backward. in the intelligence committee, in an open hearing, when the director of national intelligence, dan coats, our former colleague, was asked
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about whether the government could collect in effect just wholly domestic, personal data here in the united states, we couldn't even get a straight answer with respect to whether the government under the foreign intelligence, under the foreign intelligence surveillance act could collect wholly communications. we couldn't even get a straight answer to that. so what we need is the opportunity to have a real debate. we've got a number of amendments that go right to the heart of what these issues are all about, particularly the government conducting repeated warrantless searches for americans, even if those americans aren't the subject of any investigation, and the government then can read
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those private communications. i want to put finally this whole issue in context. every year the c.i.a. and the n.s.a. conduct thousands of warrantless searches of 702 data for americans, and that's just for content. the conduct of these searches, where they conduct tens of thousands of warrantless searches for communication records, the f.b.i. is conducting these searches so frequently that they don't even count. but this bill might have some marginal effect on one of those searches. so the house bill is not just fake reform. it's a setback.
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and the last point i would make is we finally made some headway with respect to collection of communications that are neither to nor from a foreign target, but are simply about a foreign target. i went after this issue for years, this question of abuse of what's called a bouts collection. finally the government realized it was going too far and they put limits on it. now it looks like they want to get back in the business, and the other body -- the house -- basically creates a path to going back to a collection which even the government has admitted has been abused. there is an opportunity, mr. president, if we vote to allow some amendments to come up with policies that will allow americans to look at the senate
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and say we didn't go backward. we went forward. we protected law-abiding americans, but we made it clear we were going to be relentless in our search for terrorists. i know i had a little bit more time, but i see my colleague and partner, senator paul, on the floor, and, mr. president, with that i yield the floor. mr. paul: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from kentucky. mr. paul: i rise in opposition to the government listening to your phone calls, reading your e-mails or reading your text messages without a warrant. it doesn't mean the government will never do this but it means they will have to ask a judge. they would have to ask a judge if they have probable cause that you committed a crime. they would have to name you. they would have to name the information they want. it's called the fourth amendment. all americans deserve the protection of the fourth amendment. in fact, i believe it was john adams who said that james otis' argument against blanket warrants, again generalized
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warrants they called writs of assistance they said that argument james otis made in the 1760's was the spark that led to the american revolution. lincoln is said to have written that any man can stand adversity, but if you want to challenge a man or a woman, give them power. it's really been the history of western civilization over almost 1,000 years, the struggle to contain the power of the monarch, the struggle to maintain and contain the power of the government in every form, from the magna carta on, it has been the people trying to take power back from either monarchy or despotic government. we get to the formation of our government, and jefferson wrote that the constitution would be the chains, that the government would be bound up in the change. patrick henry wrote that the constitution is meant to restrain the government, not the
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people. it is about trying to restrain government from abusing the power to take our rights. you have a fundamental right to be left alone. justice brandeis put it this way. he said the right most cherished among civilized men and women is the right to be left alone. but we know also that the history of those who grab the reins of power, the history of those who take up the mantle of power is a history of abuse. president wilson in world war 1 arrested 10,000 americans for their objection to the war. f.d.r. had an enemies' list that he actually was very vocal and published in newspapers, 77 people that were his enemies, and he used the i.r.s. to go after them. l.b.j. illegally spied on martin luther king. we just had martin luther king day yesterday. l.b.j. spied on him illegally in
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all manners, in all forms. he spied on vietnam war veterans. nixon had an enemies' list. you name it, president after president has abused this power. president obama had a fight with the tea party groups. it turns out that to register as a tea party group was given extra scrutiny and people denied being allowed to form as a charitable group or political activist group under president obama because they disagreed with president obama. we now have a current administration where there have been accusations of people in the f.b.i. having a personal animas against this president, and conspiring and discussing how they could block him. we've had members of the department of justice who were married to people doing opposition research on president trump, paid for by the opposition candidate, by hillary
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clinton. there is without question that power has been abused and will always be abused. it was lord acton said power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. the history of our country is about trying to restrain the power of government. realize that we have the ability to collect all of the phone calls in italy in one month. there was a story saying we did it. we collected every phone call from italy. who gets trapped in that? if you collect everyone's phone calls in germany or everyone's phone calls in jordan, who gets caught in that? many, many innocent legitimate americans get caught up in the other end of phone calls because it's not just the phone calls of terrorists. it's everybody's phone calls. they're all being vacuumed up, and innocent americans are caught up in that. senator wyden has been a leader in saying and asking tough questions on the spwepbs
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committee. are there -- on the intelligence committee. are there communications that are purely between two people in america that have been caught in this data base? he's been given a variety of answers on this but we suspect americans talking to americans in this country are caught up in this data base. should the government be allowed to search this data base to prosecute you for i.r.s., for not paying your taxes, for a minor marijuana violation? absolutely not. why? because this information is gathered without a warrant. it is gathered without any constitutional protection. and as others have said, we actually are okay with a lower standard for gathering foreign intelligence. we acknowledge the constitution doesn't apply to everybody in the world. but if americans get caught up in that, americans deserve the protection of the constitution. now some on the other side have started saying, well, it's lawfully gathered so it can be used for any lawful purpose. that is the most ridiculous
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argument i have ever heard. it's gathered lawfully for foreigners. and we made the standard zero. there is no constitutional protection. we never said we're going to gather foreigners' information, put it in a big pool, mix it up with americans' information, and then type your name in, john smith and find out who you've been talking to. realize that they can listen to your conversation, then they can bring you in for an interview with the f.b.i., and if you say anything in the interview that contradicts what they eavesdropped on you in your conversation, you've now committed a felony. do we really want all of our phone calls recorded and then have the ability of the government to bring you in and ask you questions about your phone calls? and if you're not perfectly accurate in recording your phone calls, you could go to prison? all we're asking for is that for americans, the constitution should be in order. we should not get rid of the constitution. we shouldn't throw it out. the constitution should protect
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us all. we take an oath of office to defend the constitution. our soldiers take the same oath of office. wouldn't it be sad if our soldiers came home from fighting and defending the constitution to learn that we gave up on it while they were gone? the sad state of affairs here is that the majority doesn't want any debate. they want to ram this through with no amendments. senator wyden and i worked for months on amendments and on an alternative bill which actually reauthorizes the program. senator leahy and lee have another bill that's similar that replaces the program. none of us are for ending the program. we're all for saying if you want to look at an american's information you've got to get a warrant. people said it will slow us down. all of our bills have an emergency exception. if they declare an emergency they can look at the information and get the warrant the next day. we hope that that would be extraordinary and not the norm. so the thing is, is we want the
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program to work but we don't want americans caught up in it. i hope that senators will think this through. this will not kill the program. they're going to scare you to death and say tomorrow we're all going to die and the world's going to be taken over by terrorists if we don't have this. if we win this vote tonight, they'll be negotiating within an hour and we'll come to a compromise that allows the constitution to protect americans. that was our oath of office. that is what we should do. and i urge a vote against the bill. mr. grassley: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i stand today in support of s. 139, the fisa amendment reauthorization act. as we know, the first responsibility of government, of this united states government, is to protect our citizens. to do so, we must make sure that those who protect us have the tools to keep us safe.
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this bill does exactly that. it provides the intelligence community and law enforcement with the right tools. but also it also minds the civil liberties and the privacy protections that our constitution requires, especially given the ever-changing technological landscape. the importance of our country's safety and security has been highlighted in several events from just the past two years. now we often get lost in the constant news cycle. but let's not forget that new york city suffered three significant terrorist attacks in the last 15 months alone. september 2016, a terrorist detonated a pressure kaorbg -- cooker bomb in new york's chelsea neighborhood.
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a second pressure cooker bomb was found a few blocks away but didn't detonate. earlier that day a bomb went off near the start of the marine corps charity race. this -- this past october, a truck was ran on the bike way, killing eight and injuring 12. this past december, another one detonated a bomb in new york city subway tunnel injuring several people near him. he told investigators he did it in the name of isis. in june of 2016, omar shot and killed 49 and injured 53 others, also in the act of the name of isis.
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in september of 2016, a terrorist stabbed 17 in the mall in st. cloud, minnesota. november 2016, a terrorist injured 13 after driving into and trying to stab students and teachers at ohio state. and in december of 2015, we had the san bernardino shooting where terrorists killed 14 and injured 22. we've also seen terrorist instances around the world, especially impacting our friends in europe. in the u.k. alone there have been a half dozen terrorist attacks, including a subway bombing in london injuring 30 people and another plowing people down on the london bridge and killing 48, and the manchester concert bombing where 22 people were killed and the attack on the british parliament
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in london, killing four, colluding a person from -- including a person from utah. all of these attacks, and more, show the threats are real and we must protect our country by lawful constitutional means. congress has done so by providing lawful authority, such as section 702. the 702 program has been called the most significant tool in the n.s.a. arsenal for the detection and disruption of terrorist threats. the n.s.a. director has said publicly that there is no alternative way to replicate 702 collection. some estimates are that over 25% of current u.s. intelligence is based upon section 702. there are some key examples.
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hagi became the second in command of isis. he was the main focus of the counterterrorism efforts. the united states government offered a $7 million reward for information leading to his capture. we spent over two years looking for him. he was ultimately captured based almost exclusively on intelligence information from 702. zasi is in prison for planning an attack of the new york city subway systems in 2009. he received explosive training in pakistan from al qaeda. he corresponded with an e-mail address with an address in pakistan. the 702 program uncovered the correspondence. without that discovery, the
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subway bloaming -- bombing plot might have succeeded. in october of 2013, the f.b.i. began investigating sean parson, a foreigner from trinidad after parson began to post online expressing a desire to commit an attack against western interest. a collection from 702 was instrumental in identifying parson and his network. through the 702 program the f.b.i. assisted foreign partners to identify the individual who committed the 2016 new york eve's terrorist attack at a nightclub in turkey. it during that attack 38 people were killed, including an american citizen. and those are just from unclassified examples. it is important to remind my colleagues of the purpose behind
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702. it provides the government the authority to collect the electronic communications of foarns located outside -- foreigners located outside of the united states. under 702 it's against the law to target anyone in the united states, or any american citizen, whether that citizen is in -- where ever that citizen is in the world. the program is targeted. it is not a bulk collection system. furthermore, the fisa court must approve targeting procedures to ensure that only appropriate individuals are subject to surveillance. minimization procedures limit the handling and use of information that is collected. all three branches of government have a hand in overseeing the program to protect the constitutional rights of the american people. it is also important to remind my colleagues that this
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legislation was first signed into law in 2008 when we took up consideration in 2012 and debated the law. we authorized this legislation with no changes. the 2012 clean reauthorization had the full support of president obama. some of our senate colleagues oppose this bill. their first and most consistent claim is that section 702 violates the fourth amendment, our collection -- our colleagues claim that it is an end run around the constitution. others call it a legal loophole, a backdoor, or a warrantless surveillance. nothing could be further from the truth. section 702 is fully consistent with the constitution. every federal court to review 702, even including the very
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liberal ninth circuit has upheld the law. the supreme court's recent decision to deny review of the ninth circuit case let stand that court's decision. these courts consistently determine that a warrant is not required to collect or query 702 information. moreover, the independent p club review board has reviewed the entire framework of 702 and found it to be constitutional. the other main claim against this bill sl that provides -- is that it provides new powers to the government. again, this is not true. nevertheless this bill clueds -- includes significant reforms. first the bill requires the f.b.i. to get a warrant in some criminal cases. in other words, we added a warrant where courts have held none are necessary. the bill also provides
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protection for whistle-blowers and requires an inspector general report. in short, this bill provides our government the tools it needs to protect our national security while providing some much-needed transparency measures and increase privacy and civil liberty protections. you can tell i'm very strongly in support of this legislation. i urge my colleagues to vote in favor of this very important national security protection legislation. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. mr. burr: mr. president, i want to thank the chairman of the judiciary committee for his support, but more importantly, for his in-depth analysis for how this works and why it is constitutional. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that senator warner and i be permitted to complete our
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remarks clier to the -- prior to the cloture vote. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. burr: i yield to the vest chairman of -- vice chairman of the committee. the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. warner: i thank my colleague for his work. i rise in support of passage of the fisa amendment reauthorization act. this would provide significant reforms that enhance the privacy protections for individuals and preserving authority critical to our national security for an additional six years. as vice chairman of the senate intelligence committee, i have long advocated balancing national security and counterterrorism with the privacy rights of americans. section 702 stands among the most important of our
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intelligence programs. to illustrate, i'd like to highlight very briefly one recently declassified success story involving a terrorist by the name of ha gid. he was second in command of isis based in syria. n.s.a. spent two years looking for him. this search was ultimately successful primarily suction of fisa section 702. under 702, they were able to collect intelligence on close associates and the network supporting mr. aman. between 702 and other intelligence that was developed, the i.c. was able to track down the movements of mr. aman and ultimately result in taking him off the battlefield. this is but one of numerous examples in which information
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obtained pursuant to section 702 has proven critical to addressing threats to americans, both domestically and abroad. for much of the past year and a half, i have worked closely with chairman burr and a bipartisan group of senators to pass legislation to reauthorize section 702 for an extended period while incorporating substantive reforms. in october, our senate intelligence committee passed in a bipartisan way a vote of 12 to 3, comprehensive reauthorization legislation. since that time we worked with counterparts in the house and with the executive branch to ensure that the final bill we will vote on tonight and tomorrow will have widespread bipartisan support and include civil liberties and privacy protections. the bill before us here today is a product of extensive
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bipartisan, bicameral negotiations. this bill is not perfect. rarely have i worked on or voted on a bill anywhere that's perfect. but i believe this measure represents a significant compromise and preserves the operational flexibility of section 702 while instituting key reforms to further protect u.s. personal privacy. let me take a moment to identify a few key items in this legislation that i believe bear mentioning. first, and i see my friend from florida, who has worked long and hard on this, he would like to see it broader, but it does include a warrant requirement. for the first time in section 702, the government would be required to obtain a court order before f.b.i. criminal investigators are permitted to view investigations pursuant to section 702 concerning an
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american citizen. such a court order would apply in the context of criminal investigations opened by the f.b.i. that do not relate to national security. this bill also mandates a study be conducted by the inspector general of the department of justice of the f.b.i. querying practices one year following the enactment of this legislation, making sure that such practices have been approved by the fisa court and implemented appropriately by the executive branch. this is important in ensuring transparency. it includes an assessment of the interpretations of the f.b.i. and d.o.j. of query procedures. it requires the handling by the f.b.i. of an individual that is unknown. it includes the scope of access by the f.b.i.'s criminal
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division to 702 information. this will not all of the questions asked, i say to my friend from oregon, it will put the f.b.i. on record. in addition, in terms of querying procedures, section 13 the will have new procedures to be drafd and approved by the court implemented by executive branch agencies. there is new public reporting of statistics about activities conducted under fisa. as mentioned by the chairman of the judiciary committee, s. 139, for the first time, extends whistleblower protections to contractors in the intelligence community. this addition is essential to ensure that those in the i.c. have an avenue to report abuses. mr. president, congress must not
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further delay consideration of a long-term reauthorization. we've been debating this issue for the past 18 months. indeed, congress has known about this deadline since the prior reauthorization occurred in 2012. numerous committees have had extensive hearings on this important issue, including in our committee both open and closed hearings. i believe this bill will strengthen and protect americans. i urge my colleagues to vote in favor of this legislation and i thank the president and again want to thank my friend, the chairman of this committee, the senator north carolina, and i look forward to his comments. with that, i yield the floor to the chairman. the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. mr. burr: i thank the vice-chairman of the committee. i say to those who are opposed to this, i have great affection for all of them. they have passion that really
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displays their belief that the american people need to be protected from government. and let me just say from the start, this is the single-most reviewed program that exists in the federal government. this is reviewed congressional will it is reviewed by courted, it is reviewed by the d.n.i. it is radio viewed by the inspector general of the department of justice because we realize on the committee that this requires not just the stamp of approval from congress but the assurance by the intelligence committee and by every branch of government that it lives within the parameters we've set. i'm not sure that anybody could have heard a more thorough description than what senator warner just gave and a more overwhelming voice of support than what the chairman of the judiciary committee gave senator
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grassley. but let me take head-on a couple of issues that have come up and claims that have been made on this floor this afternoon. one is that this is unconstitutional. well, let me just be clear. this has been tested in the courts, and the courts have ruled that this program is lawful and it is constitutional. so any claim outside of that is not a claim from the judiciary, which we trust; it is a claim from an individual, and i believe that we should in this case trust the courts. but let me say here that congress recognized the constitutionality of section 702 when 2 reauthorized -- when it reauthorized the bill in 2012. further, federal courts have consistently upheld the constitutionality of 702, for example, in the united states v.
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mohammed, ninth circuit, december 5, 2016. the court unanimously held that no warrant is required for a search targeted at a foreign person abroad who lacks fourth amendment rights, even though some u.s. person's communications are incidentally acquired in that collection. the court found that section 702 collection was reasonable under the 4th amendment, reasonable balancing test, and the targeting and minimization procedures sufficiently protected the defendant's privacy issues. that's contrary to things that you heard on this floor in the last hour. but this is the ninth circuit court, december 5, 2016, making a ruling based upon this incidental collection that applies to u.s. citizens. what the vice-chairman just shared with you is we went a step further. we didn't leave it just with the court to determine constitutionality and the lack of a 4th amendment protection.
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we put into the bill that if it didn't have a national security implication, if it was a criminal act and it was going to be prosecuted in the courts that way, that before they could look at the content of that communication, it required them to go to the court and seek and get a warrant before, in fact, they could look at content. so not only do we have the courts on our side saying there is no 4th amendment protection, we've gone a step further and said, in the caves u.s. citizens -- in the case of u.s. citizens, if in fact they were incidentally clicketed and if in fact the the information that of the that was in the database that's going to be used for a criminal case -- senator paul talked about marijuana -- they would have to go to a court and get a warrant from a judge to look at that content, which means you'll have an f.b.i. agent that will make a determination as to whether the content is valuable enough to go to the courts and seek a warrant. this is a protection for the american people. it is not a requirement for the
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4th amendment or for the constitutionality of 702. now, let me just say to my colleagues, who if there are any on the defense post, the director of the national intelligence is off the floor. if you need one of the guys who needs to oversee this program, on the one hands the importance of it he is here. he is ready to talk to any member. why? because 702 is the single most important national security tool we have in the united states. you see, if you asked me to sum up what is this bill for, this is allow government to keep the american people safe. this bill does more to allow law enforcement and intelligence in the congress of the united states and the executive groom assure the american people of their safety. that's at the heart of what congress is established for. spending all these things come
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after that. but the defense of the country, defense of each individual american is what's at the root of our responsibilities. and 702, as it relates to this age of terrorism, is the single-most effective tool that we have to assure the american people that we're doing everything we can to provide their safety. i might add to that that from a standpoint of the international collection and the international cadre of terrorists, we're able to share with other countries in a way that nobody else can when their country is in jeopardy of a terrorist attack. and we have multiple examples where we have shared with our partners around the world, and i might add, we don't necessarily require them to be a partner of ours to share this with them. we take countries that we have no relationship with, maybe is
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this ha -- maybe we don't like - maybe that we don't like too much. if we see there is a terrorist attack that is eminent, we will share that with any country in the world, even our enemies. so let me put aside for any country that section 702 is lawful and it is constitutional. let me go to the rigorous oversight that i think that the vice-chairman described. it's overseen by the foreign intelligence service court. it's overseen by the department of justice and the i.g. it's overseen by the congressional intelligence committee. it's required to be evaluated on an annual basis by the justice department and by the bureau for procedures that they have to follow. i can't stress enough that the committee, your committee, your
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colleagues in congress are the ones that you should feel most confident at reviewing and providing proper oversight for this program. you see, it's those individuals that reach the clarity that's needed to -- for this body and for the congress to look at the american people and say, we haven't crossed the line. we've stayed within the legal box that was created. but don't leave it to committee. let's use the -- but don't leave it to me. let's use the privacy and civil liberties oversight board. in 230914 following an extensive review, pclob noted to date, there are no known instances which government personnel deliberately violated the statute targeting procedures or minimization procedures. let me say that again. the privacy and civil liberties oversight board which many here
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created came out and in their report said, to date, there is no known instances in which the government personnel deliberately violated the statute targeting procedures or minimization. at the same time, in that report, pclob made a number of recommendations to the government intended to enhance the safeguards for privacy and civil liberties in section 702. in february 2016, the privacy and civil liberties oversight board reported that all of its recommendations had been implemented in full or in part by the government. let me say that again. in february of 2016, every recommendation that the privacy and civil liberties oversight board made about this program, the pclob certified that those had in full or in part been adopted by the federal government.
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if you only go on what you heard over the last half an hour or hour, you would think that this is riddled with questions of constitutionality and that there are massive abuses. the fact is there have not been any and the courts have ruled that it is constitutional, it is legal, and it does not infringe on the 4th amendment at all. well, let me sty my colleagues -- let me say to my colleagues, i expected we'd be here. we had a heated debate in the committee. the presiding officer remembers that well because he's on the committee. we considered a lot of amendments, and at the end of the day, we came out with a bill that's very similar to what we have today. 12-3 vote. shows a tremendous bipartisan support. now, if senator warner had written it by itself, it would probably look different. if i had written it by myself,
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it would probably look different. what we're asked to vote on today is a bill that looks different than what we passed out. it's a little bit stronger from a standpoint of the protection of privacy because it does institute this warrant requirement if in fact you want to see the content of any collection out of 702 that's dealing with a criminal process. but if it's national security, we're doing exactly what i think the american people want us to do. we're due using the data that we've got to find the he people that want to -- to find the people that want to committee these acts and stop them before they do it. that's not intent of this. then this probably shouldn't exist. if anybody believes that terrorist quit and we're no longer a target, then eliminate this. i'm closer to the line than i ever thought i would be before i got to the united states senate. and certainly before i became the chairman of the intelligence committee.
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but i do understand responsibilities, responsibilities make sure that those individuals who we charge with protecting the american people have the tools they need to accomplish it. it's the reason we're debating on the floor and at the other end of the capitol the funding of our military. it's to make sure that our military has the tools they need to go out and do the mission they've been asked to do. well, from the bureau to the cybersecurity act we've asked them -- to the intelligence community, we've asked them to do everything they can to make sure america is safe. with no abuses to date -- and that's the determination of the privacy and civil liberties oversight board, not a righ right-leaning institution. and the fact is that the government has lived exactly within the letters of the law that we have described. so i would urge my colleagues to vote for cloture.
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let's move on to the 30 hours on this bilks if that's what in fact -- on this bill, if that's what in fact everybody demands. we've already extended it temporarily. that's not a sign of confidence to those who work i in the trenches and we ask to keep us safe. let's do the bold thing. let's finish this. this is a bicameral, bipartisan negotiated bill. both sides of the aisle, both ends of the capitol -- it is time we do our business. i urge my colleagues to vote yes for cloture. i yield the floor. mr. wyden: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: i would ask unanimous consent to speak up to two minutes. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. wyden: i thank my colleagues. i'll be very brief. what we're debating is whether the senate will be the senate. if you vote in favor of this, you are vietnaming for cloture. -- you're voting for cloture. there will be no amendments
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then. we would have the opportunity if we vote against cloture for improving this bill. and i want to emphasize that if we take a short time to improve this bill, as senator lee wants to do and senator leahy and senator paul, this program continues to operate. it is not in any way going to harm our ability to fight terrorism. this program would stand. i urge my colleagues to vote to carry out our constitutional obligations as senators to have real debates and vote against
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