Statement on the RESTORE Act

i thank my friend for yielding. i thank him for his leadership as well. i thank mr. conyers for his leadership, and i thank mr. hoekstra and mr. smith for their participation. TimeCode: 19:55:09.3 this is a serious issue that confronts us. mr. speaker, this legislation, restore act, is nothing less than the fundamental TimeCode: 19:55:21.0 reiteration of the most basic concepts of our constitution. our constitutional form of government that we indeed are a nation of laws, and that our founders deliberately designed our three branches of TimeCode: 19:55:35.9 government to serve as a check and balance on each other. one of my colleagues, my friend, i believe, from arizona stood and said it was not the job of judges to conduct intelligence. he was correct. it is not the job of judges to conduct intelligence. TimeCode: 19:55:53.9 but it is the constitutional duty given by our founding fathers who understood that king george too often abused his sovereign power and who said to all that they would have adopt this constitution TimeCode: 19:56:10.5 that we will protect you from the abuse of power of government. and we will do it by having it reviewed by independent judges. not by the legislature. we can tell the judges we are TimeCode: 19:56:31.2 acting constitutionally and that is a protection against congressional abuse of power. and the executive department can be told by judges, you are abusing your constitutional TimeCode: 19:56:42.2 power. no power, no protection was felt to be more necessary and important by our founding fathers than their right to personal privacy and a lack of TimeCode: 19:56:59.8 intrusion by king george just because he wanted to do it. and they said king george had to have probable cause, in this case the government of the united states. and so that's why they established courts, and we in TimeCode: 19:57:16.8 our wisdom, in my view, established the fisa court to do just that. every single one of us here recognizes that our highest duty is to protect the american TimeCode: 19:57:32.0 people. indeed, we must detect, disrupt, and eliminate terrorists who have no compunction about planning and participating in the mass killing of innocent people. we saw that tragically on 9/11. TimeCode: 19:57:49.6 we also, each one of us, come to this well or stand in our seats and raise our hand and swear an oath to defend the constitution of the united states. and to protect its laws. and to honor the values and TimeCode: 19:58:04.2 principles that are contained therein. that is our oath. that is what we do here this night. including the fourth amendment right that americans are secure in their persons houses, papers and affects against TimeCode: 19:58:19.8 unreasonable searches and seizures. that's not an assertion on any individual or any government or even the legislature. it was an assertion by our founding fathers that they had seen too often abuses by the executive agencies of government. TimeCode: 19:58:35.7 our basic duties as members of this congress, protecting the american people and protecting the values that define us as americans are not mutually exclusive. we can protect our country and protect our constitution. TimeCode: 19:58:54.9 that is our duty. and that is precisely what this historic act introduced by chairman reyes and chairman conyers has done. this legislation gives our intelligence community the tools it needs to listen in on those who seek to harm us while TimeCode: 19:59:12.7 addressing concerns that the bill passed in august could authorize warrantless surveillance of americans. that is our concern. that is our focus. among other things, this legislation modernized the TimeCode: 19:59:27.5 technologically outdated foreign intelligence surveillance act of 1978 by restoring a checks and balances rule for the fisa court and addressing the intelligence gap asserted by the director of national intelligence. we heard director mcconnell, we TimeCode: 19:59:43.3 want to help director mcconnell. let us be clear, this legislation does not require a warrant for listening in on suspected and known terrorists, period. TimeCode: 19:59:57.6 an assertion to the contrary is not accurate. in fact, it clarifies that no court order is required for surveillance of conversations where both parties are foreign citizens. it does not extend constitutional rights to suspected or known terrorists. TimeCode: 20:00:13.7 . assertions to the contrary notwithstanding. TimeCode: 20:00:20.4 nor does it delay the collection of intelligence information. furthermore, it grants the attorney general and the director of national intelligence authority, authority to apply to the fisa court for a block order, not an individual order, not a discreet order, but a block order saying TimeCode: 20:00:38.1 you can pursue this gathering of information to protect america. but you cannot do it simply because you want to do it. you've got to do it consistent with the constitution of the TimeCode: 20:00:55.9 united states and the laws thereof. you cannot conduct freelance surveillance without some authority of law. fisa court can give a block TimeCode: 20:01:10.4 order to conduct surveillance on large groups of foreign targets for up to a year. and that can be renewed. ensuring that only foreigners are targeted and americans' rights are preserved. that is the whole reason in a TimeCode: 20:01:25.3 bipartisan way we adopted ficea -- fisa to make sure that was the case. why do you fear a fisa court reviewing that basic principle that was its intent at its adoption? finally the legislation is silent on the issue of TimeCode: 20:01:42.3 retroactive immunity for telecommunications company. that possibly violated privacy laws and turning over consumer information to the government. we don't make that judgment today. we need to review information to know what was done before we immunize conduct which we do not TimeCode: 20:02:00.2 know. simply stated it would be grossly irresponsible for congress to grant a blanket immunity for companies without even knowing whether their conduct was legal, appropriate, reasonable, or not. don't you think the american TimeCode: 20:02:17.1 public, each one of our constituents, expects that of us? in closing, mr. speaker, let me quote "the washington post" which stated in october, the measure produced by the house intelligence and judiciary committees would alleviate the TimeCode: 20:02:31.9 burden of obtaining individualized warrants for foreign targets while still maintaining a critical oversight for the fisa court. in other words, we are relieving the administration from the burden of discreet approval. TimeCode: 20:02:50.3 but we are providing for the protections that americans expect under our constitution. mr. speaker, we must give our commander in chief, the president of the united states, and the intelligence community TimeCode: 20:03:04.1 the resources, authority, and flexibility that is necessary to protect our people and defend our nation. i believe each of us in this congress support that objective. but we must also honor the values and principles that make TimeCode: 20:03:23.4 us americans. this legislation allows us to do both. i urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle facilitate the interception of information and terrorist communication TimeCode: 20:03:41.0 dangerous to our people and our country. and at the same time redeem that oath of protecting and defending our constitution. i yield back the balance of my time.