Smith Statement Opposing Intelligence Authorization Act
“Today, I voted against the Intelligence Authorization Act because of Congress’ lack of progress in negotiating reforms to, and increasing protections included in, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), as well as the rushed manner in which the bill was considered by the U.S. House of Representatives. After attempting to bring the legislation up outside of regular order earlier this week, the House Republican leadership ultimately brought the bill to the House Floor today in a format that still did not allow for any amendments. Limiting the ability of Members to offer constructive changes on such a critical component of our government is a disservice to the democratic process. Ultimately, I feel it is unacceptable to pass the authorization of our intelligence programs without a robust debate of important national security programs like Section 702 of FISA.
“Section 702 is a statue that authorizes the collection and use of electronic communications of non-U.S. persons without requiring a warrant or proving probable cause. I have concerns with how this section is being used. It is unacceptable to pass a blanket extension of our intelligence programs without incorporating significant reforms to ensure the Fourth Amendment rights of Americans are safeguarded. We must have a transparent and open debate about how we collect information, from whom we collect it, and how it is shared. Congress has a responsibility to thoroughly review and appropriately restructure Section 702 to ensure that American’s civil liberties are protected. While the United States should be allowed to conduct foreign intelligence surveillance, we must remain vigilant in our protection of the Constitutional rights of American citizens.”