WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) called on President Barack Obama to immediately go further in enacting reforms to federal surveillance activities, particularly those of the National Security Administration (NSA). In a letter led by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, Congressman Jones and five of his colleagues pointed out that although the president has promised greater transparency, he has not yet taken sufficient action to protect the American people’s constitutional right to privacy and prevent bulk collection of information on U.S. citizens. Furthermore, the president has allowed Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to continue in his position despite having lied to Congress under oath by denying that the NSA was collecting data on millions of Americans, when in fact it was.
The letter calls on President Obama to address not only bulk collection of telephone records under the Patriot Act but also government programs involving encryption data, which pose a hazard to Internet freedom. In addition, the signers of the letter expressed the necessity of a clearly defined standard to which intelligence agencies must adhere before collecting data, particularly from private companies.
“When it comes to reforming surveillance activities, the American people need more than just another empty promise from this president,” said Congressman Jones. “Considering the government’s history of abusing its power and violating the constitutional rights of millions of Americans, immediate action must be taken to hold our intelligence-gathering agencies accountable and prevent future breaches of privacy.”
Congressman Jones has been a consistent champion of internet freedom and limiting government surveillance of the American people. He has voted against every reauthorization and extension of the Patriot Act since it became law in 2001 and has voted against CISPA, SOPA, and the FISA Amendments Act.
The full text of the letter is available at the link below.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) led a coalition of House members in urging the Obama administration to carefully consider the impact of their proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Free Trade Agreement on U.S. fisheries and fishing communities. The agreement is widely expected to reduce or eliminate duties on imported fish products from countries like Vietnam, Malaysia, and Japan. Among other things, this could significantly cut funding for the Saltonstall-Kennedy (S-K) Act grant program, a U.S. research and development program that benefits American fisheries. Since its passage nearly 70 years ago, the S-K Act has authorized allocation of 30 percent of duties on imported fish products toward competitively-awarded projects that improve U.S. fish stocks, reduce bycatch, and help fishing communities in every coastal region of America.
In a letter signed by eight of his colleagues, Congressman Jones implored United States Trade Representative Michael Froman to keep the potential negative impact on S-K revenue in mind as TPP negotiations continue. Furthermore, the signers of the letter requested that a detailed estimate of the effect of the TPP on S-K revenue be provided to them before the final TPP agreement language is sent to Congress.
“U.S. fishermen just want a level playing field, but this TPP agreement threatens to tilt the field even more toward foreign fish imports that are often heavily subsidized and contaminated,” said Congressman Jones. “Fishing is a vital component of the economy in Eastern North Carolina and the coastal United States, with the industry providing tens of thousands of domestic jobs. Those jobs are supported by the Saltonstall-Kennedy program, and the administration needs to keep these facts in mind and act accordingly when it comes to the TPP negotiations.”
The administration has been negotiating the TPP free trade agreement with Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam for over three years and is hoping to finalize the deal this year.