The Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, along with the U.S. Intelligence Community, are charged with protecting the United States and the American people from all threats, foreign and domestic. Protecting the American people is my number one priority in Congress. However, it is important that officials who are charged with protecting the American people do not infringe on our most basic rights, such as the rights to free speech, assembly, and privacy.
Cybersecurity is a major concern. Threats from other nations and ad hoc groups pose very real dangers to our national security. The biggest obstacle to moving cyber security legislation is the perception that government has too much control over the Internet. I share the concerns about the risk to personal privacy from too much government involvement, but I also believe there is a role for stepped up readiness to address the very real and growing threat of cyber warfare. From securing our critical infrastructure and protecting the intellectual property of our nation’s companies to making sure our telecommunications network is impenetrable, we must do more to protect our people, our economic interests, and our national security.
NSA Surveillance Programs
In recent months there has been considerable speculation surrounding two surveillance programs run by the National Security Agency (NSA) as a result of unauthorized disclosures of classified information.
The first program, authorized by Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, concerns the collection of bulk telecommunications records such as telephone numbers dialed and length of calls, and is designed to address a gap between foreign and domestic counterterrorism efforts exposed in the 9/11 attacks.
The second program, authorized under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), concerns the targeting of communications of foreigners located outside the U.S. for foreign intelligence purposes, like counterterrorism and counter proliferation.
Congress and the Administration must reform these surveillance programs. In July, I voted in support of an amendment that would have prohibited the NSA from collecting bulk telecommunication records unless the information was directly related to a national security investigation. Though the amendment was narrowly defeated by a 205-217 vote, the message for reform was loud and clear.
Reforms to these programs must include making sure that contract employees cannot access citizens’ private communications records and state secrets. We must ensure that these programs are more transparent in order to assure the American people that the NSA’s surveillance activities are focused solely on possible terrorist activity and not infringing on our constitutionally-protected rights.
More on National Security
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Gene Green (D-TX) released the following statement after President Trump held a joint press conference with President Putin:
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a bipartisan defense policy bill that authorizes $696 billion in defense spending in fiscal year 2018. Included in the authorization is a bill sponsored by Reps. Green (D-TX) and Wittman (R-VA), H.R. 2286, the Domestic Maritime Centers of Excellence Act.
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Gene Green released the following statement after the appointment of a special counsel in the Russia investigation:
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Gene Green joined the Democratic Caucus and filed a discharge petition to force a vote on H.R. 356, the Protecting Our Democracy Act. Following recent revelations from the White House and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Congressman Green believes it’s time to vote on this bipartisan legislation that will establish an outside, independent commission to investigate President Trump’s ties to Russia and possible collusion to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
HOUSTON, TX – Congressman Green (TX-29) released the following statement after President Trump terminated and removed FBI Director James Comey from office:
HOUSTON, TX — Congressman Green released the following statement after U.S. forces conducted a tomahawk missile strike targeting a Syrian government airfield.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Gene Green (TX-29) released the following statement after overnight reports found that top Trump associates frequently contacted Russian intelligence officials months before the presidential election:
WASHINGTON D.C. - Rep. Gene Green (D-TX) and Rep. Paul Cook (R-CA) today introduced HR 5579, the Secure E-waste Export and Recycling Act (SEERA). This national security bill stops the flow of e-waste to China and other countries that regularly counterfeit electronics. The bill will ensure that such waste does not become the source of counterfeit goods that may reenter military and civilian electronics in the United States.
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