WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, issued the following statement opposing S. 1035, a bill to reauthorize Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act--the provision used by the National Security Agency (NSA) to collect the phone records of law-abiding Americans.
"I strongly oppose extending the Patriot Act without making the necessary reforms to protect Americans' privacy and civil liberties. We must end the collection and long-term retention of personal information about millions of innocent, law-abiding Americans. Instead, our efforts should be focused on bolstering programs that actually target and prevent terrorism. We can and must balance the government's need to keep our nation safe with protecting our constitutional rights."
Heinrich has repeatedly pressed the president and the intelligence community on the effectiveness of the NSA's dragnet surveillance of law-abiding Americans. In January 2014, Heinrich sent a letter to President Obama urging him to take swift action to rein in the NSA's pervasive and constitutionally flawed domestic surveillance activities and to adopt reforms that protect privacy while ensuring American security.
S. 1035 was introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Intelligence Committee Chair Senator Richard Burr. Section 215 of the Patriot Act will expire on June 1, 2015.