Wicker Says Surveillance Legislation Vital to Protecting Americans

February 12, 2008

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today made the following statement after the Senate voted 68 to 29 to approve legislation to modernize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act:

“The September 11 attacks taught our country many things, the least of which was that we needed to dramatically reform the way we collect human intelligence and monitor terrorists who wish to do us harm.  It is clear that in order for our intelligence community to respond to the challenge created by the worldwide spread of terrorism, they need to be given the tools to do their job effectively. 

“There is no tool more important to our intelligence community than the passage of this bipartisan legislation.  By updating and modernizing the 30 year-old law that governs how intelligence is gathered, we are ensuring our intelligence community can monitor terrorist communication without being hamstrung by an outdated law written to accommodate the technologies of the Cold War. 

“This bill – the product of months of bipartisan negotiations which passed the Intelligence Committee by a vote of 13 to 2 – will allow our intelligence agencies to conduct surveillance on foreign terrorists who are planning attacks against America or our allies.  Of equal importance, this legislation keeps in place necessary safeguards to protect Americans’ civil liberties.

“The American government has no greater responsibility than to protect our citizens, and the approval of this legislation goes a long way towards helping our intelligence and law enforcement agencies accomplish that goal.”