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June 11, 2013

Thompson Statement on NSA Surveillance Programs

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, released the below statement regarding the recently exposed NSA surveillance programs:

The leaked information that exposed the NSA surveillance programs has shown that the war on terrorism has become a justification for the collection and retention of an unprecedented amount of information. While the intelligence value of this massive amount of data is unclear, it is clear that our national security infrastructure has used a broadened interpretation of our statutes to expand its authority in ways that most Americans find troubling and distasteful.

My colleagues in the majority have spent the first six months of this year engaged in futile political witch hunts when the Congress should have been exercising legitimate oversight of these activities. The Constitution requires and the American people deserve our best efforts to address this situation.

At the very least, this Congress must reaffirm our commitment to privacy by immediately ensuring that the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is fully functional; review and update our laws to assure that technological advances are considered as we construct the statutes that govern this nation; and finally this Congress must ensure transparency by requiring FISA courts to publish unclassified versions of all its past and future decisions. We cannot claim to be a nation that operates under the rule of law if any court is allowed to issue secret decisions.

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Media Contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978