WASHINGTON, D.C. - At an open Senate Intelligence Committee hearing today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.)questioned Intelligence Officials on the bulk collection and warrantless searches of the phone calls and emails of Americans under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
The hearing today was held to address the House-passed USA FREEDOM Act. Senator Heinrich, who is an original cosponsor of the Senate version of the bill, said, "The legislation approved by the House is a positive step forward because it ends the bulk collection of Americans' phone records. But truly restoring Americans' privacy rights will require that we craft a bill that is carefully written to prevent mass surveillance programs from ever coming into being again. I will continue to work to ensure that the Senate version of any FISA reform legislation takes the steps necessary to protect innocent Americans from the prying eyes of the government. I am confident that we can find a way to balance our civil liberties while also protecting our nation from terrorist threats."
Recent revelations and declassified documents have made public the extent of the National Security Agency's (N.S.A.) bulk phone and now-defunct email metadata collection programs and their effect on the constitutional liberties of law-abiding Americans. As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Heinrich has been working to prohibit the N.S.A. from collecting Americans' information in bulk and has repeatedly pressed President Obama and the Intelligence Community on the effectiveness of these programs.