Statement by the Press Secretary on the USA FREEDOM Act
In January 2014—a year-and-a-half ago—the President called on Congress to reform elements of our electronic surveillance programs. The President and members of his team subsequently worked painstakingly with members of Congress from both parties to craft a sensible path forward. The result, the USA FREEDOM Act, struck a reasonable compromise balancing security and privacy—allowing us to continue to protect the country while implementing various reforms, including prohibiting bulk collection through the use of Section 215, FISA pen registers, and National Security Letters. National security professionals, civil libertarians, and 338 members of the House of Representatives—both Democrats and Republicans—agreed that the legislation allowed our intelligence and law enforcement professionals to retain key tools while strengthening civil liberty protections.
The Senate took an important—if late—step forward tonight. We call on the Senate to ensure this irresponsible lapse in authorities is as short-lived as possible. On a matter as critical as our national security, individual Senators must put aside their partisan motivations and act swiftly. The American people deserve nothing less.