WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) today released the following statement after voting against the motion to invoke cloture on the House message on S. 139, the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) Amendments Reauthorization Act.
“We are in constant search of the right balance between maintaining our national security and respecting the constitutional rights of American citizens. I voted against cloture on the FISA reauthorization legislation because, particularly on a bill that has such a profound impact on the civil liberties of American citizens, senators should have the opportunity to offer, debate and vote on amendments in a robust process on the Senate floor. The American people have the right to a full and fair debate on such an important national security tool that has wide-ranging privacy implications for the next six years. Congress should give our intelligence and law enforcement agencies the tools they need to disrupt and prevent terrorist attacks against the United States and our allies. But we must simultaneously insist that any such awesome power given to the government comports with the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution and is subject to strict congressional and judicial oversight, so that we continue to protect the civil liberties of innocent Americans and our most cherished values.”