Press Releases

Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) introduced legislation in the House of Representatives today to ensure that American citizens and legal residents returning to the U.S. from overseas are not subject to invasive searches of their laptop computers or other electronic devices without any suspicion of wrongdoing.  Senator Russell Feingold will introduce a similar bill in the Senate today.
“The chief responsibility of the United States Government is to protect its citizens, and while doing so it is critical that we do not overshadow the obligation to protect the privacy and rights of Americans,” said Congressman Adam Smith.  “This legislation will provide clear and commonsense legal avenues for the Department of Homeland Security to pursue those who commit crime and wish to do our country harm without infringing on the rights of American citizens.  Importantly, it will provide travelers a level of privacy for their computers, digital cameras, cellular telephones and other electronic devices consistent with the Constitution and our nation’s values of liberty.”
The Travelers Privacy Protection Act was introduced in response to a Department of Homeland Security policy, released on July 16th that allows customs agents to “review and analyze” the contents and files of laptops and other electronic devices for an unspecified period of time “absent individualized suspicion.”  This policy was issued following report of U.S. customs agents requiring citizens and legal residents to relinquish their laptops or cell phones to DHS authorities for lengthy periods of time while the devices were searched, and in some cases, contents of the devices copied.  Reports have also surfaced that some devices had been confiscated and returned weeks or months later with no explanation.
The Travelers Privacy Protection Act requires reasonable suspicion of illegal activity for Department of Homeland Security agents to search the contents of laptop computers or other electronic devices carried by U.S. citizens or lawful residents, and it prohibits profiling travelers based on their race, ethnicity, religion, or national origin.  Additionally, the bill requires probable cause and a warrant or court order to seize information uncovered during a search, and specifies that searches carried on for more than 24 hours become a seizure.  This bill also ensures that information acquired during an electronic search is protected by strict disclosure limitations, with exceptions for sharing information about possible criminal violations or foreign intelligence information.  The Travelers Privacy Protection Act also ensures that DHS provides information on its border search policies and practices to Congress and the public.
Congressman Adam Smith secured $24.6 million for military projects in the Puget Sound  The funding was included in a spending package that included funds for the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, and military construction projects for fiscal year 2009.

“This package helps restore our military’s readiness and provides our troops and families with the support they need.  I’m also pleased that we included funds for important projects at Ft. Lewis, McChord Air Force Base and around the region,” Smith said.
These important projects include:
$8.6 million for Washington State Air National Guard’s 262nd Information Warfare Aggressor Squadron to build a new cyber-warfare facility for use by the (IWAS) at McChord Air Force Base.

$2 million for the Stryker Situation Awareness Soldier Protection Package, to equip the Stryker vehicle drivers of Ft. Lewis’ 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, with transparent armor; Carapace, LLC, North Andover, Mass. 

 $200,000 for the Madigan Army Medical Center Digital Pen project to acquire digital pens that capture and upload writing electronically while also recording care in ink on paper to improve the process of recording and transmitting patient care information; ADAPX, Seattle, Wash.

$1.6 million for the Tacoma Trauma Trust - Madigan Army Medical Center Trauma Assistance Program to provide critical trauma training for military medical personnel, while providing essential Level II trauma treatment for South King, Pierce, Kitsap, and Thurston Counties and southwest Washington for both military beneficiaries and civilian residents; Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma General Hospital, and St. Joseph’s Hospital, Tacoma, Wash. 

$4.4 million for the University of Washington’s Institute of Surgical and Interventional Simulation (ISIS) to upgrade existing facilities, expand their existing partnerships with Madigan Army Medical Center and VA Puget Sound, and explore ways in which surgical simulation can enhance the treatment and rehabilitation of soldiers; University of Washington, Seattle, Wash.

$3 million for the Oregon Biomedical Engineering Institute, for research on limb and tissue regeneration for battlefield injuries using bone marrow and stem cells; Oregon Biomedical Engineering Institute, Portland, Ore.

$1.6 million for million for Optical Neural Techniques for Combat/Post-Trauma Health Care with the potential to provide full restoration of hearing for injured soldiers; Aculight Corporation, Bothell, Wash.

$3.2 for Mobile Object Infrastructure Technology enabling the U.S. Army Intelligence Command (INSCOM) to continue research and development of solutions to network computing challenges, including bandwidth and information-sharing constraints; Topia Technology, Tacoma, Wash. 
Congressman Smith also helped secure key funds for programs vitally important to the Fort Lewis and McChord military community including:
$56 million for the Readiness and Environment Protection Initiative (REPI).  Smith has successfully advocated for REPI funds to be used to acquire land and development rights in the buffer zone North of McChord Air Force Base’s runway. This vital program helps public and private entities establish protective buffer zones around military installations. These buffer zones help insulate military installations from encroachment from development that can adversely impact the military’s ability to train.

$40 million for Impact Aid, which compensates school districts with a significant population of students from military families.  School districts surrounding Ft. Lewis and McChord rely heavily on the program.
Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) released the following statement on The American Energy Security & Consumer Protection Act passed by the House by a vote of 236 - 189:
“The House delivered a comprehensive energy bill that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and spur the development of renewable energy sources and energy efficient technologies here at home.”
“This bill will change the direction of our energy policy and begin to move our country away from its reliance on fossil fuels.  It eliminates tax breaks for the five largest oil and gas companies and invests that money instead in renewable energy sources and conservation efficiencies. The package provides $18 billion in tax breaks to spur green jobs, reduce energy consumption, improve efficiency, generate alternative and renewable sources of energy and reduce our reliance on foreign sources of energy. It would also require utility companies to generate 15 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2020, invest royalties from oil companies owed to taxpayers into alternative energy, and expand incentives for investment into solar and wind energy and plug-in hybrids.
“I have some concerns about the bill’s provisions to expand drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf, which experts agree will not reduce gas prices and will present new environmental risks to our coastal communities.  Yet the drilling provisions were crafted in a limited and responsible way, and on the whole this compromise package provides the change in direction we need in our nation’s energy policy.” 
 “I am proud to support this compromise package and will keep working to change course from the costly, outdated energy policies of the past to the innovative energy policies Americans have been waiting for.”
Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement on the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks:
“Today we focus our thoughts and prayers on all those who perished in the brutal attacks on our country on September 11, 2001. We pay homage to the families they left behind and salute the brave men and women who have kept us safe in the days since. We must never forget the first responders who selflessly risked and gave their lives trying to save their fellow Americans. The images of that day will forever be seared into our collective memory and the price paid will never be forgotten.”
“We must honor the devastating loss on that day with vigilance, temperament and resolve. We must remember that many of those who committed this tragedy still walk the earth free men, and continue to plot and plan against the U.S. and our interests. We must redouble our efforts to bring these men to justice and to prevent further attacks. Let today serve as a reminder that we must never become complacent, that we must always be vigilant and act in a manner in accordance with our values and with our nation’s best interests at heart.”
“Our brave men and women in uniform have done an outstanding job around the globe fighting for our freedom and we must honor their service with sound judgment and thoughtful policy. With dedication to our ideals and a commitment to bringing those who brought our country harm to justice, today we stand not as Democrats or Republicans, but as American citizens dedicated to ensuring we never witness an attack like September 11th  again.”

Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) released the following statement on the President’s plan to reduce force levels in Iraq by approximately 8,000 troops and slightly modify troop levels in Afghanistan over the next six months:
“The President made it clear through his slight troop reduction announcement that he intends to maintain a long-term, unsustainable presence in Iraq. The situation on the ground in Iraq would permit - and the needs of our overstrained military and our struggling mission in Afghanistan demand - a much larger troop reduction, at a significantly faster pace. The President has effectively deferred the development of a responsible Iraq exit strategy to the next Administration. That is highly irresponsible.”

“The deteriorating situation in Afghanistan demands a dramatic adjustment to our current strategy. The President’s slight reduction of troops in Iraq, coupled with a troop reshuffling in Afghanistan that essentially maintains the status quo, shows that he does not grasp the severity of the situation in Afghanistan and the danger posed by under-resourcing our mission there. Any future attacks on the United States are most likely to originate from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area, and we cannot allow the region to become a terrorist sanctuary or fall to the Taliban. But our forces continue to be overwhelmingly concentrated in Iraq. The President’s announcement demonstrates he is unwilling to divert from this dangerous course. ”

“Our troops remain the best in the world, and their efforts have helped dramatically improve the situation in Iraq. We must honor their sacrifice by bringing them home and ensuring their accomplishments in Afghanistan do not slip away.”