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 - The following is a list of member project requests submitted by Rep. Gene Green to the House Appropriations Committee for consideration during the fiscal year 2009 Appropriations process. The project requests are listed in no particular priority order and are organized by the subcommittee to which they were submitted, in accordance with House rules.
Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education:
HOUSTON, TX - Rep. Gene Green (D-Houston) has nominated nine exceptional students from the 29th Congressional District to the four United States service academies: the United States Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, the United States Military Academy at West Point, the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, and the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point. Nominees will find out whether they have been accepted in the next few months.
Washington, D.C. – Congress has approved funding for several projects in the 29th Congressional District that are vital for transportation, health, commerce, education and other sectors.
The funding was included in a consolidated appropriations bill (H.R. 2764) that provides money to keep the government running through FY2008. The President is expected to sign the bill soon.
29th Congressional District projects included in the bill are:
Washington, DC - U.S. Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas) voted with a majority of the House of Representatives to override President Bush’s veto of the Water Resources and Development Act (WRDA, H.R. 1495) today. The bill includes authorization to use federal funds to upgrade the Halls Bayou Federal Flood Control Project, which protects Harris County from potential flooding.