Contact: Caroline Rabbitt (202) 224-2353

Washington, D.C.- Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today released the following statement on the FBI's inability to access NSA phone records in the California Terror Case:

"On Wednesday two terrorists killed 14 innocent people and injured 21 in San Bernandino, California. The hours and days that follow an attack of this nature are critical to discovering its origins and thwarting other attacks. But the FBI has been forced to investigate this attack with one hand tied behind their back because our valuable NSA metadata program was shut down just days earlier.

"To put it simply: the deadliest terrorist attack in the United States since Fort Hood is now serving as the guinea pig in a giant experiment on our national security. It's a frightening and uncomfortable thought. I hope this is the first and only example we see of the danger in shifting from a proven effective system to a new, untested one purely for political talking points. That is why the Congress must take up and pass the Liberty Through Strength Act II and give our law enforcement and intelligence community the officials the tools they need to keep us safe, including accessing the legacy metadata lawfully collected prior to the USA FREEDOM Act.

"I hope this is the only lesson President Obama needs to understand the danger in putting his political agenda ahead of our national security."

Background: Yesterday, the AP reported that the FBI was unable to directly access the phone records of two individuals suspected in the California terrorist attack. Read more here.