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Pelosi-Reid Joint Statement on FISA

February 16, 2008

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid issued the following statement this afternoon on the expiration of the Protect America Act:

“The Protect America Act will expire only because the President and congressional Republicans refused to approve an extension of that law. Their true concern here is not national security. Rather, they want to protect the financial interests of telecommunications companies and avoid judicial scrutiny of their warrantless wiretapping program.

“Congressional Democrats will continue to work on a bipartisan basis to finalize a strong law. As we do, there should be no question in anyone’s mind that U.S. intelligence agencies have the legal ability to take all actions necessary to protect the security of the American people. For anyone to suggest otherwise is irresponsible and totally inaccurate.

“In particular, the law protects telecommunication carriers, and we will ensure that no lawfully cooperating carrier is disadvantaged by the President’s decision to block a brief extension of the Protect America Act.”