Letter to Obama: Congress Must Examine Various National Security Collection Programs & Consider Amendments to Law

Dear Mr. President:

Thank you for your leadership in honoring our responsibility to protect and defend the American people.  As you know, our challenge as elected officials is to preserve Americans’ liberties while protecting our national security. 

This week, the House of Representatives considered an amendment offered by Representatives Amash and Conyers to H.R. 2397, the Fiscal Year 2014 Defense Appropriations bill.  The Amash-Conyers amendment would have limited NSA's ability to collect bulk telecommunications records pursuant to Section 215 of the Patriot Act as codified in Section 501 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).  Although the amendment was defeated 205-217, it is clear that concerns remain about the continued implementation of the program in its current form.

Although some of us voted for and others against the amendment, we all agree that there are lingering questions and concerns about the current 215 collection program.  These include:

  • Whether the bulk metadata telecommunications collection program sufficiently protects the privacy and civil liberties of Americans. 
  • Whether the program could be tailored more narrowly to better ensure the protection of privacy and civil liberties.
  • Whether the law is being implemented in a manner consistent with Congressional intent.
  • How we can ensure greater transparency regarding FISA court operations, decision making, and issuance of orders. 
  • Whether changes to the current FISA Court structure are needed.

Congress must examine the various national security collection programs and consider amendments to the law.  We have been assured that the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board has embarked on a review of the collection programs done pursuant to FISA and the Patriot Act, and has agreed to review various legislative proposals. 

We look forward to working with you and Administration officials to address the concerns outlined above and to explore options which will preserve Americans' privacy and civil liberties while protecting our national security.

Thank you for your leadership and your attention to these concerns.

Sincerely,

Rep. Nancy Pelosi
Rep. Steny H. Hoyer
Rep. James E. Clyburn
Rep. Xavier Becerra
Rep. Joseph Crowley
Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger
Rep. John Conyers, Jr.
Rep. Robert E. Andrews
Rep. Joyce Beatty
Rep. Ami Bera
Rep. Sanford D. Bishop, Jr.
Rep. Timothy H. Bishop
Rep. Earl Blumenauer
Rep. Suzanne Bonamici
Rep. Madeleine Z. Bordallo
Rep. Robert A. Brady
Rep. Corrine Brown
Rep. Julia Brownley
Rep. Cheri Bustos
Rep. Lois Capps
Rep. Tony Cardenas
Rep. John C. Carney, Jr.
Rep. Matthew A. Cartwright
Rep. Kathy Castor
Rep. Joaquin Castro
Rep. Judy Chu
Rep. David N. Cicilline
Rep. Yvette D. Clarke
Rep. Steve Cohen
Rep. Gerald E. Connolly
Rep. Jim Cooper
Rep. Joe Courtney
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings
Rep. Susan A. Davis
Rep. Diana DeGette
Rep. John K. Delaney
Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro
Rep. Suzan K. DelBene
Rep. Tammy Duckworth
Rep. Donna F. Edwards
Rep. Keith Ellison
Rep. Eliot L. Engel
Rep. William L. Enyart
Rep. Anna G. Eshoo
Rep. Elizabeth H. Esty
Rep. Eni F.H. Faleomavaega
Rep. Chaka Fattah
Rep. Sam Farr
Rep. Bill Foster
Rep. Lois Frankel
Rep. Marcia L. Fudge
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
Rep. Pete P. Gallego
Rep. John Garamendi
Rep. Joe Garcia
Rep. Alan Grayson
Rep. Gene Green
Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva
Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez
Rep. Janice Hahn
Rep. Colleen W. Hanabusa
Rep. Denny Heck
Rep. Brian Higgins
Rep. James A. Himes
Rep. Michael M. Honda
Rep. Steven A. Horsford
Rep. Jared Huffman
Rep. Steve Israel
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee
Rep. Hakeem S. Jeffries
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson
Rep. Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr.
Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.
Rep. Daniel T. Kildee
Rep. Derek Kilmer
Rep. Ron Kind
Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick
Rep. Ann M. Kuster
Rep. James R. Langevin
Rep. Rick Larsen
Rep. John B. Larson
Rep. Barbara Lee
Rep. Sander M. Levin
Rep. John Lewis
Rep. Alan S. Lowenthal
Rep. Nita M. Lowey
Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham
Rep. Ben Ray Luján
Rep. Stephen F. Lynch
Rep. Daniel B. Maffei
Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney
Rep. Jim Matheson
Rep. Doris O. Matsui
Rep. Betty McCollum
Rep. Jim McDermott
Rep. James P. McGovern
Rep. Jerry McNerney
Rep. Grace Meng
Rep. Michael H. Michaud
Rep. George Miller
Rep. Gwen Moore
Rep. James P. Moran
Rep. Patrick Murphy
Rep. Jerrold Nadler
Rep. Grace F. Napolitano
Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod
Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton
Rep. Beto O’Rourke
Rep. William L. Owens
Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr.
Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. 
Rep. Donald J. Payne, Jr.
Rep. Ed Perlmutter
Rep. Gary C. Peters
Rep. Scott H. Peters
Rep. Collin C. Peterson
Rep. Pedro R. Piersluisi
Rep. Mark Pocan
Rep. Jared Polis
Rep. David E. Price
Rep. Cedric L. Richmond
Rep. Raul Ruiz
Rep. Tim Ryan
Rep. Loretta Sanchez
Rep. John P. Sarbanes
Rep. Janice D. Schakowsky
Rep. Adam B. Schiff
Rep. Robert C. Scott
Rep. José E. Serrano
Rep. Terri A. Sewell
Rep. Carol Shea-Porter
Rep. Brad Sherman
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema
Rep. Louise McIntosh Slaughter
Rep. Adam Smith
Rep. Jackie Speier
Rep. Eric Swalwell
Rep. Mark Takano
Rep. Bennie G. Thompson
Rep. Mike Thompson
Rep. John F. Tierney
Rep. Dina Titus
Rep. Niki Tsongas
Rep. Chris Van Hollen
Rep. Juan Vargas
Rep. Marc A. Veasey
Rep. Peter J. Visclosky
Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz
Rep. Henry A. Waxman
Rep. Timothy J. Walz
Rep. Peter Welch
Rep. Frederica S. Wilson
Rep. John A. Yarmuth