[aklug] Begich response concerning NSA overreach.

From: Christopher Howard <christopher.howard@frigidcode.com>
Date: Tue Jul 16 2013 - 19:32:04 AKDT

FYI. And a reminder: Most of these senators and congressmen have contact
forms, if any of you get the urge to layer on the constituency-style
pressure regarding any important issues.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Responding to your message
Date: Tue, 16 Jul 2013 11:06:06 -0400
From: <noreply@begich.senate.gov>
To: <christopher.howard@frigidcode.com>





July 16, 2013




Dear Mr. Howa:


Thank you for contacting me about the National Security Administration
(NSA). I share your concerns about the recent reports the government
has collected information about millions of Americans. I strongly
believe in the Constitutional right to privacy, and I am proud to have
cosponsored several pieces of legislation on this issue.


As you know, it recently became public that the NSA has collected
communications information about millions of Americans, including phone
and Internet usage records. Under the Uniting and Strengthening America
by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct
Terrorism Act of 2001 (PATRIOT Act) and the Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act(FISA), the federal government has broad authority to
conduct intelligence and surveillance activities on Americans. I have
consistently expressed strong concerns about both these pieces of
legislation, and I voted against legislation to extend the PATRIOT Act
in 2011 and to extend FISA in 2012. Last year, I joined with several of
my Senate colleagues in requesting more information about the number of
Americans' communications secretly collected by the U.S. government
under FISA.


I strongly believe we need greater transparency and accountability in
our government to prevent overreach and to protect against an
unnecessary invasion of Americans' privacy. I am proud to be a
cosponsor of S. 1130, the Ending Secret Law Act, which would require the
Attorney General to declassify significant Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Court (FISC) opinions. FISC is a special court charged
with authorizing requests for surveillance both inside and outside the
United States. Making these opinions public will ensure Americans know
how broad a legal authority the government is claiming to collect
information under the PATRIOT Act and FISA.


I am also a cosponsor of S. 1182, which would require federal
intelligence agencies to demonstrate the communications records they're
seeking are in some way connected to terrorism or other intelligence
activities. This bill would limit the existing authority under the
PATRIOT Act, which currently does not require intelligence agencies to
provide any justification or demonstration to collect Americans' records.


While I appreciate the incredibly difficult challenge our intelligence
community faces, I am deeply concerned about the impact of these
surveillance and collection activities on the privacy rights of
Americans. Securing the nation and its citizens is vitally important,
but the effort to apprehend terrorists shouldn't focus on law-abiding
Americans. I will continue working with my colleagues in the Senate to
push for a better balance between ensuring national security and
protecting our Constitutional rights.


Thank you again for contacting me about this important issue. Please do
not hesitate to contact me again in the future.




Mark Begich
U.S. Senator

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Received on Tue Jul 16 19:32:44 2013

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