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 offered an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2014 to provide free Internet access for service members serving in a combat zone.
In his statement submitted for the record on the amendment, Rep. Green explained:
Proud to support Military Appreciation Month and record this video, which will be shared with our troops by the USO. Thank you to all of our troops and your families for your service to our nation.
May is Military Appreciation Month and Rep. Green invites you to thank the brave men and women of our nation who protect our freedom every day.
This slideshow features highlights of the Congressional Delegation in November 2011 that Congressman Green participated on. Members traveled to Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Dubai, Iraq, and Germany to meet with government and military officials to discuss security issues. Congressman Green enjoyed eating meals with Texas soldiers and Marines serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, and visiting with soldiers at Landstahl Military Hospital in Germany on Veterans Day.
This Veterans Day, Congressman Gene Green is visiting with injured soldiers at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, the health facility where many soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan are taken to receive care. This visit was part of a Congressional Delegation (CODEL) trip to the Middle East with four other Members of Congress.
Congressman Gene Green with Members of Congress, Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Michael McCaul (R-TX), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), and Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Major General Huggins, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in South Afghanistan, and soldiers at the FOB Pasab in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The Members had lunch and dinner with Texas soldiers and Marines serving in Afghanistan. The visit is part of a Congressional Delegation trip to the Middle East for meetings with military and government officials on security issues.