News Releases

Senator Murray’s Statement on President Obama’s Announcement of Intelligence Privacy Reforms

Jan 17 2014

Reforms include Murray supported effort to create public advocate in FISA proceedings to better protect the privacy of American citizens, end “rubber stamp” courts

Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray released the following statement today after President Obama announced reforms to American intelligence programs as a result of review panel the administration commissioned.

“I have long been concerned that as a nation we were failing to meet the critical balance between protecting the privacy rights of our citizens and protecting our national security. That’s why even before recent intelligence overreaches came to light, I was among a small minority in the Senate who voted against reauthorizing the PATRIOT Act and the expansion of FISA courts because of my concerns about how sections of those bills lacked needed oversight and protections for American citizens.

“More recently, in an effort to increase oversight and transparency of the FISA courts charged with protecting American citizens’ privacy, I sponsored legislation that would ensure that American citizens actually have an advocate in those court proceedings to ensure that decisions to gather intelligence aren’t simply “rubber stamped.” It’s a positive step forward that the President today recommended establishing this type of advocate, but I’m also pleased that he made clear that doing so will be a collaborative process with Congress.”

“Nobody can argue that the events of September 11th and subsequent terrorist plots have not changed the nature of the way the dedicated individuals who work to protect our nation must do their job. But I don’t believe that means we need to compromise our fundamental American rights to privacy that set us apart from other nations. This will be an ongoing effort, and I look forward to building on the first steps to reform that the President laid out today.”