Jul 232013
 
 July 23, 2013  Laws, Surveillance

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 23, 2013
Statement by the Press Secretary on the Amash Amendment

In light of the recent unauthorized disclosures, the President has said that he welcomes a debate about how best to simultaneously safeguard both our national security and the privacy of our citizens. The Administration has taken various proactive steps to advance this debate including the President’s meeting with the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, his public statements on the disclosed programs, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s release of its own public statements, ODNI General Counsel Bob Litt’s speech at Brookings, and ODNI’s decision to declassify and disclose publicly that the Administration filed an application with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. We look forward to continuing to discuss these critical issues with the American people and the Congress.

However, we oppose the current effort in the House to hastily dismantle one of our Intelligence Community’s counterterrorism tools. This blunt approach is not the product of an informed, open, or deliberative process. We urge the House to reject the Amash Amendment, and instead move forward with an approach that appropriately takes into account the need for a reasoned review of what tools can best secure the nation.

If the above is the President’s idea of being proactive or having a debate, we are never going to have the debate that needs to be had. The Amash-Conyers amendment is our best current hope of stopping the bulk collection of the records of millions of Americans who have done nothing wrong.

In his talk today, available elsewhere on this blog, Senator Wyden repeatedly referenced location information. The government has repeatedly denied getting location information. Or has it? Is there some other program that collects all of our location records?

If you still trust the government’s statements about what it collects, shame on you.

How many members of the House will cave to government pressure or the 9/11 scare tactics? How many will stand up to restore our Fourth Amendment rights?

Stay tuned.

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