Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins released the following statement after voting in opposition to the USA Freedom Act and in favor of a short term extension of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA):
“The USA Freedom Act would weaken a critical capability created in the wake of the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks. According to intelligence officials, that capacity has helped our government thwart terrorist plots at home and abroad. Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has testified that had this capability been in place prior to the 9-11 terrorist attacks, the plots most likely would have been detected and prevented.
“The House bill would also place telephone data records at a much greater risk of privacy violations by exposing investigative information to many more people than the 34 trained government analysts who currently have access to the database for counterterrorism purposes only, and then only under the supervision of a federal judge. During an Appropriations Subcommittee hearing earlier this month, Attorney General Loretta Lynch confirmed that there have been no abuses in the program.
“The laws governing intelligence activities do, however, need to be updated, and I support legislation to increase oversight of the NSA’s activities. The bill passed by the Intelligence Committee in the last Congress would be a good starting point.”