WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement after voting against final passage of S. 139, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments Reauthorization Act.
“This legislation has such a profound impact on both the safety and civil liberties of Americans. I voted against it because it did not strike the right balance between maintaining our national security and safeguarding the constitutional rights of American citizens. Senators should have had the opportunity to improve and amend this bill. We have a responsibility to protect our homeland and troops, prevent and disrupt terrorist attacks, and combat terrorism, cyberattacks, and weapons proliferation. I thank the many law enforcement and intelligence professionals who work around the clock to keep us safe every day. However, the Republican leadership should have allowed reasonable amendments to make sure this legislation complies with the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. We should have had the opportunity to consider improvements to congressional and judicial oversight of these awesome powers given to the government for such a lengthy period of time.
“It is a falsehood to say that we must choose between protecting our national security and protecting the constitutional rights of American citizens. We can – and we must – do both as we uphold our oath to preserve, protect, and defend our Constitution and the rule of law.”