June 7, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) released the following statement today on the National Security Agency surveillance controversy:

“The National Security Agency’s sweeping access to Americans’ phone and internet data is a disturbing trend in privacy erosion under the guise of national security. Under a top secret court order, large telecom carriers are now required to provide information on all telephone calls both from foreign and domestic sources in their systems, in an “ongoing, daily basis.”

I have long opposed and voted against reauthorizing the FISA Amendments Act that gives the federal government these sweeping powers. FISA also permits the collection of Americans’ emails if they are communicating with someone outside of the U.S. This is even more insidious because the world wide web has no area codes, so it is impossible to tell where email communications originate from. This is simply overreaching, by any reasonable measure of intelligence gathering. What is the justification for doing this? The American people deserve to know exactly what kind of information is being gathered, and why. When law-abiding Americans call their friends, they should not wonder if who they call, when they call, and where they call is being tracked by the NSA.

While the President is suggesting he is willing to engage in a vigorous debate on the issue, I think it is more important to define more specifically how the information gathered is being used and for what purposes. I also believe that classified briefings for members of Congress not on the Intelligence Committees are in order because I am not at all confident that I can defend these actions to my constituents under the guise of national security.”