U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, (R-Miss.) issued the following statement Thursday after voting in favor of the USA Freedom Reauthorization Act, which includes provisions to reform and extend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) for three years.
“At a time of increasing threats to our nation, giving our security services the tools they need to keep us safe is of paramount importance," said Wicker. "I am glad the Senate has acted in a bipartisan fashion to pass legislation that will extend the FISA program and make important reforms to ensure American citizens’ civil liberties are protected.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act establishes procedures for the physical and electronic surveillance and collection of "foreign intelligence information" between "foreign powers" and "agents of foreign powers" suspected of espionage or terrorism. The act was created to provide judicial and congressional oversight of the government's covert surveillance activities of foreign entities and individuals in the U.S., while maintaining the secrecy needed to protect national security.
"Further lapses in this critical program would be extremely dangerous for our national security," said Wicker. "I hope the House can pass this legislation without delay.”
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) was introduced on May 18, 1977, by Senator Ted Kennedy and was signed into law by President Carter on Oct. 25, 1978. The bill was cosponsored by nine Senators: Birch Bayh, James O. Eastland, Jake Garn, Walter Huddleston, Daniel Inouye, Charles Mathias, John L. McClellan, Gaylord Nelson, and Strom Thurmond.