Thursday, April 27, 2006

Kilpatrick on H.R. 5020

I rise today for the purposes of explaining my vote on H.R. 5020, which this chamber considered yesterday. I have a high regard for the intelligence officials that serve our country, and I strongly support efforts to make sure that they have the resources to complete their mission competently, professionally, thoroughly and legally. After listening to the debate on this bill, I reached the conclusion that this bill does nothing to rein-in this Administration’s domestic surveillance program conducted by the National Security Agency.

This bill contains some good provisions. It imposes restrictions on the growth of the National Director of Intelligence to ensure resources are applied to strengthening the intelligence community’s ability to penetrate hard targets, and not just add to the growth in bureaucracy. It fully funds the counter-terrorism program. However, the bill’s provisions concerning oversight of domestic counterintelligence activity is tepid at best.

I believe we can conduct domestic intelligence activities in a manner that is consistent with the requirements of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and the protections guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution. There exists a debate in this country if whether the NSA domestic surveillance program is being conducted within the limits of the FISA. During the debate on the bill, I learned several Members sought to offer a bipartisan amendment clarifying that all surveillance of American citizens must follow the law and be consonant with the 4th Amendment of the Constitution. The Rules Committee denied us an opportunity to consider that amendment. Any process that denies us the opportunity to protect our constitutional guarantees does not deserve my support, and for that, reason, I voted against the passage of H.R. 5020


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