Fitzpatrick: NSA Collection of Phone Records Highlights Concerns about PATRIOT Act

Fitzpatrick: NSA Collection of Phone Records Highlights Concerns about PATRIOT Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8) issued a statement Friday in reaction to the reports that the National Security Agency has been collecting the telephone records of millions of U.S. customers of Verizon under a top secret court order:

“Troubling new reports indicate that the National Security Agency has collected tens of millions of law-abiding Americans’ phone records using authority given to the agency by the PATRIOT Act.

While we need to make sure our law enforcement agencies have the tools they need to thwart terrorism at home and abroad, we must not do it at the expense of our personal privacy or civil liberties.

Blanket authority granted by Section 215 of the law allows the NSA to collect personal information without a court-approved warrant.  I voted against the PATRIOT Act Reauthorization repeatedly in 2005, as well as in 2011, because I was concerned about this type power being vested in the government without stringent Fourth Amendment protections.

Thursday I joined with other concerned Members of Congress on a letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller and National Security Agency (NSA) Director General Keith Alexander expressing concern about the access to the telephone records of Verizon's customers. In addition to seeking answers about accessing the phone records of U.S. citizens using authority granted for the purposes of tracking foreign terrorist threats, we asked several specific questions and requested documents concerning the FBI and NSA's data collection activities.

As this story continues to develop, I urge the administration to be forthcoming, open and transparent. I will be following this situation closely. As always, we need to strike a balance between protecting personal privacy and protecting the public.”

###

Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick is serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He represents Pennsylvania’s 8th district which includes all of Bucks County as well as a portion of Montgomery County. He serves as the Vice Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.