Jones Cosponsors Bill to Improve NSA Accountability

November 15, 2013
News Release
Congressman Walter B. Jones Press Office

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) cosponsored legislation to improve accountability at the National Security Agency (NSA) by requiring the inspector general (IG) of the NSA to be appointed by the president and formally confirmed by the Senate. Currently, the NSA director is responsible for appointing the IG – a situation which discourages the type of meticulous oversight the agency needs. By requiring independent appointment of the IG, the NSA Inspector General Act of 2013 (H.R. 3436) would hold the agency to the same standard as the Department of Defense, Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Justice, and Department of Homeland Security.

“The NSA is vested with the responsibility to protect our national security, and with that responsibility comes a great amount of power,” said Congressman Jones. “Unfortunately, the NSA has a history of abusing its power and violating the privacy of millions of Americans. This bill would improve accountability at the NSA by instituting a new structure of oversight and discontinuing a system in which the IG is required to report on the very individuals who appointed him or her to the position.”

“As former CIA Inspector General Britt Snider wrote in a recent op-ed for the Washington Post, the decision to require an independently-appointed IG at the CIA in 1989 created an environment in which the IG’s office ‘no longer had to worry about the potential effect on their careers if their findings and conclusions were critical of the agency’ and could freely decide ‘which of the CIA’s activities would be investigated, inspected or audited without waiting for direction or approval from agency management.’ This is exactly the type of oversight that the NSA needs in order to prevent it from further engaging in inappropriate activities that infringe on the privacy rights of U.S. citizens.”

For additional information, please contact Sarah Howard in Congressman Jones’ office at (202) 225-3415.

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Jones Files Amicus Brief in Case Arguing Obamacare Violates Constitution

November 13, 2013
News Release
Congressman Walter B. Jones Press Office

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) has joined 39 of his colleagues in filing an amicus curiae brief with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in Sissel v. HHS, a case which challenges the legality of Obamacare on the basis that it violates the Origination Clause of the Constitution. While the Origination Clause states that “[a]ll bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives,” Obamacare’s individual mandate penalty – ruled a tax by the Supreme Court in 2012 – originated in the Senate. Thus, the brief argues that the healthcare law should be ruled unconstitutional.

“Even worse than the canceled insurance plans and skyrocketing premiums resulting from Obamacare is the fact that individuals are suffering these ill effects from a law that runs directly contrary to our Constitution,” said Congressman Jones. “It is my hope that the Court of Appeals will recognize the law’s blatant violation of the Origination Clause and rule accordingly.”

Sissel v. HHS was decided in June 2013 by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in a ruling – made by an Obama-appointed judge – that upheld the constitutionality of the president’s healthcare law. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear the case this fall. Regardless of the outcome, the losing party will likely appeal to the Supreme Court.

For additional information, please contact Sarah Howard in Congressman Jones’ office at (202) 225-3415.

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