Sen. Cornyn: Passage Of Critical Legislation Updating FISA Long Overdue

In: All News   Posted 07/09/2008

WASHINGTON—With the support of U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, the Senate today passed critical legislation that modernizes the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by a vote of 69-28. The bipartisan legislation passed the Senate in February, also with Sen. Cornyn’s support, but Democratic leaders unfortunately allowed the bill to expire on Feb. 16, 2008, leaving the intelligence community in the dark for a critical period of time. H.R.6304 amends the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and notably provides protection against lawsuits for telecommunications companies being sued for complying with government requests in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. “Today, the Senate passed legislation that is critical to keeping America safe. For far too long, our intelligence community has been denied the necessary tools. One thing is certain – our intelligence community should always have the resources to pursue and capture radical Islamic terrorists, while we ensure safeguards are in place to protect Americans’ rights. This bill makes important, crucial updates to FISA and allows our intelligence community to fully carry out their responsibilities in fighting the war on terror,” Sen. Cornyn said. “Importantly, this bipartisan bill includes liability protection for electronic communication service providers that assist in national security efforts by providing information on suspected terrorists. The Attorney General and Director of National Intelligence have reported that ‘even prior to the expiration of the Protect America Act, we experienced significant difficulties in working with the private sector because of the continued failure to provide liability protection for such companies.’ “America’s security was put at greater risk when the Democrats allowed the Protect America Act to lapse, and it demonstrated a complete lack of understanding of the threat this nation faces. Passage of this legislation is a victory for every American, and I hope the President will sign it without delay,” Sen. Cornyn concluded. Sen. Cornyn serves on the Armed Services, Judiciary and Budget Committees. In addition, he is Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Ethics. He serves as the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee’s Immigration, Border Security and Refugees subcommittee and the Armed Services Committee’s Airland subcommittee. He served previously as Texas Attorney General, Texas Supreme Court Justice, and Bexar County District Judge.