Cotton Introduces Legislation to Postpone Impending Termination of Essential NSA Counterterrorism Program
Contact: Caroline Rabbitt (202) 224-2353
Washington, D.C.- Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) will today introduce the Liberty Through Strength Act, which would delay the USA FREEDOM Act's termination of the terrorist metadata collection program until the President can certify that the new NSA collection system is as effective as the current system.
"The terrorist attacks in Paris last week are a terrible reminder of the threats we face every day. And it made clear that the President's empty policy of tough talk and little action isn't working against ISIS. Regrettably, these policy follies also extend to the Intelligence Community, whose hands were tied by the passage of the USA FREEDOM ACT. This legislation, along with President Obama's unilateral actions to restrict the Intelligence Community's ability to track terrorist communications, takes us from a constitutional, legal, and proven NSA collection architecture to an untested, hypothetical one that will be less effective. And this transition will occur less than two weeks from today, at a time when our threat level is incredibly high.
"If we take anything from the Paris attacks, it should be that vigilance and safety go hand-in-hand. Now is not the time to sacrifice our national security for political talking points. We should allow the Intelligence Community to do their job and provide them with the tools they need to keep us safe. Passing the Liberty Through Strength Act will empower the NSA to uncover threats against the United States and our allies, help keep terrorists out of the United States, and track down those responsible in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks."
Background: In June, the Senate passed the USA FREEDOM ACT, which dramatically altered the NSA metadata collection system. The changes are effective December 1, 2015. The Liberty Through Strength Act would:
- Extend the transition timeline in the USA FREEDOM Act until after January 31, 2017, and upon certification from the President that the new architecture will have no operational impacts;
- Makes permanent the USA PATRIOT Act's "lone wolf" and roving wiretap provisions.