From Senator Mark Udall: "Why We Need to Reform the Patriot Act"
"When I learned two years ago, as a member of the Intelligence Committee, about the National Security Agency’s invasive collection of records, I knew many Americans would be as shocked as I was. I also am not convinced, based on my knowledge of the facts, that this bulk collection of Americans' private information has provided any uniquely valuable intelligence that has disrupted terrorist plots.Make no mistake: protecting American soil in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks is my highest priority. But when our government conducts counter-terrorism activities that threaten our privacy, I believe our government has the responsibility to be straight with the American people about how far such efforts reach.
Before the NSA’s phone records collection program was exposed, I worked non-stop to encourage the Administration to be more transparent. While I would never reveal classified information, I did everything within my power to appropriately raise red flags — and often was criticized for doing so. I supported amendments to responsibly reform the PATRIOT Act, spoke many times on the Senate floor, and urged the Administration to tell the American people about how the surveillance laws were being used. I even voted against the long-term reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act because it didn't strike the right balance between privacy and security.
Let's now lead a national discussion about how far the government should go in circumscribing our constitutional rights while fighting terrorism. Let's call on Congress to debate and reform the PATRIOT Act and do a better job in balancing national security and personal privacy."
-Senator Mark Udall