King explains No vote on USA Freedom Act

Steve King copyFrom Press Release


U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-IA 4) released the following statement after voting against H.R. 2048, the USA FREEDOM Act.

“I voted against H.R. 2048, the USA FREEDOM Act, because it does not strike the right balance between privacy and security,” said King. “ISIS just attacked Americans in Texas on May 3, 2015. Five days later, FBI Director James Comey sounded the alarm claiming hundreds and maybe thousands of people across the country are under the sway of the brutal terrorist group. Any overhaul of our surveillance apparatus must include proper consideration of how to maintain access to the valuable data our intelligence community requires to investigate and preempt terrorist attacks.

Unfortunately, the national security component of this important debate has been clouded by the good faith concern for privacy. People are right to be concerned about the bulk collection of data by the government and this bill ends that program. I too share this concern about government surveillance of our private lives and therefore support the intent of this bill. However, there has been little discussion of the investigative value of that data. To remedy that, I offered an amendment in the Judiciary Committee that would allow the intelligence community to voluntarily contract with those companies to compensate them to hold the data for a period of time. My amendment struck the right balance between privacy and security while also not creating any mandate on private industry. This was rejected and without such a safeguard, our national security is at the mercy of private companies that have no obligation to maintain, store and protect the data we need to stop terrorist attacks. Congress has a duty to protect both privacy and our Nation. With careful consideration I am confident we can do both, but the USA FREEDOM Act focuses on ending bulk data collection with no solution for protection of the vital data we need for national security. Going forward it is crucial that Congress concentrate on how to make us safer in light of this data disarmament.”