Tags: Homeland Security | NSA/Surveillance | John Cornyn | Patriot Act | National Security Agency | security

Sen. Cornyn: Renew Patriot Act to Protect National Security

By    |   Wednesday, 20 May 2015 01:38 PM

America's national security will be put at greater risk if we allow the National Security Agency's surveillance program to expire at the end of the month, said Sen. John Cornyn.

In an opinion piece for the Dallas News, the No. 2 Senate Republican makes the case for the full renewal of the Patriot Act, saying that mass data collection provides a key way for intelligence and law enforcement officials to fight terrorism.

"After the Sept. 11 attacks, Americans began to look at our national security in a different light. No longer were the lines of battle neatly drawn and enemies easily identified. In the 21st century, threats would be constantly evolving and growing even more complex," Cornyn wrote.

"The crisis in Syria and Iraq has illustrated just how dangerous these threats are, both abroad and at home."

Cornyn highlights the widespread nature of the threat, pointing out that 56 FBI field divisions are currently investigating cases of homegrown terrorism, while more than 150 people from the U.S. have joined the Islamic State in Syria.

"One tool used to effectively disrupt terrorist networks inside our borders is the Patriot Act," he said. "I believe our national security will be put at greater risk if the provisions are allowed to expire."

He said that while he acknowledges concerns about privacy in data collection, there are rigorous safeguards in place to protect people from intrusions. He also pointed out that the records do not include private information, such as names and addresses, or the ability to listen to phone calls.

"The intelligence community has a vital role to play in safeguarding our nation. I believe the Patriot Act provides our intelligence community and law enforcement with the tools they need to operate effectively to protect all Americans, while using appropriate checks and balances to ensure our rights remain intact," he wrote.

"Many intelligence experts have said the Patriot Act makes the United States safer today than we were pre-9/11. By maintaining strong oversight of these and other government programs, we can have a win-win situation that protects both American lives and American liberties," Cornyn concluded.

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the Senate this week will vote on the USA Freedom Act — legislation to end the NSA's phone records program while also renewing Patriot Act provisions, according to The Hill.

One option, however, is a short-term reauthorization of provisions applying to the NSA.

The Freedom Act overwhelmingly passed the House last week.

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America's national security will be put at greater risk if we allow the National Security Agency's surveillance program to expire at the end of the month, said Sen. John Cornyn.
John Cornyn, Patriot Act, National Security Agency, security
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2015-38-20
Wednesday, 20 May 2015 01:38 PM
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