Senate Intel Chairman Burr on Passage of H.R. 2048: This Is No Time for an Untested, Unproven Proposal

May 14, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) today made the following statement regarding the House of Representatives vote on H.R. 2048, the USA Freedom Act.

“H.R. 2048 undercuts the Intelligence Community’s capability to stop terrorist attacks here and abroad,” said Burr. “Our intelligence personnel have responsibly and professionally used authorities granted them under Section 215 for years, and have helped keep Americans safe as a result.  Yesterday, the Directors of the FBI and the NSA reiterated that they believe the current tools are legal, valid, and useful ones that they do not want to lose.  Even the Administration has admitted that no intentional abuses of privacy and civil liberties have resulted from the use of the legal authorities provided by Section 215. 

“Simply put, H.R. 2048 is trying to fix a system that isn’t broken.  In its place, the House bill envisions an unknown technical solution based on uncertain access to data that may or may not exist.  The NSA hasn’t even begun to design, let alone build, the system that H.R. 2048 contemplates.  H.R. 2048’s lack of a mandatory data retention requirement for the telecommunications companies highlights the illusory ‘protection’ it proposes.  As terror groups such as the Islamic State and Al-Qaida grow in number, capability, and technical sophistication, now is not the time to turn to an untested, unproven proposal as the House has done today.”

Chairman Burr and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have introduced a clean authorization of section 215 of the Patriot Act.