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.