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
Congressman Gene Green (TX-29) is proud to announce an Armed Services Blood Drive benefiting our military service members and their families, being held this Saturday, June 4, 2011, from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Army National Guard Armory located at 2917 San Augustine Avenue in Pasadena, Texas 77503.
The drive is being administered by the official U.S. military blood program, the Armed Services Blood Program Office (ASBPO), which was established by the Department of Defense over 50 years ago.
Washington, DC - Rep. Gene Green (D-TX) today voted in support of H.R. 3288, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, which included a provision in the omnibus that waives the restrictions on Community Development Block Grant funding from being used as local match requirements for other federal funding in areas affected by Hurricane Ike and all other federally declared disasters in 2008.
Washington, DC - Rep. Gene Green released the following statement regarding the passage of the conference report on H.R. 2346, the Supplemental Appropriations Act FY 2009. The Supplemental passed the House of Representatives 226-202, and will now be sent to President Obama.
Washington, DC - Rep. Gene Green released the following statement regarding the FY 2009 Supplemental Legislation, which includes funding for Hurricane Ike disaster relief.
Washington, DC - Representative Gene Green today voted in support of H.R. 1139, the COPS Improvements Act of 2009. Thislegislation provides resources for an additional 50,000 police officers to be added at law enforcement agencies across the nation. The COPS Improvements Act of was approved by the House of Representatives with a vote of 342-78, and will now be sent to the Senate for their consideration.