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Rep. Holt Responds to President Bush on FISA

February 28, 2008

From Rep. Rush Holt on President Bush’s comments this morning:


(Washington, D.C.) — Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12), Chair of the House Select Intelligence Oversight Panel, released the following statement today in response to the President's comments regarding the debate over electronic surveillance at this morning's press conference:

“The President, at this morning's press conference, said that the American people expect we will provide the intelligence community with the tools it needs to protect the country. It has those tools now through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and would have all the authority necessary to protect Americans into the future under the RESTORE Act, passed by the House in November. The RESTORE Act embodies the principle that officials must establish before a court that they have reason to intercept communications involving American citizens. What the President really wants is a permanent blank check to conduct indiscriminate collection and fishing expeditions without any judicial oversight. This does not lead to better intelligence.

“The President has had multiple opportunities to work with Congress to modernize FISA. Instead, he has chosen to demagogue this issue through a propaganda campaign, one dependent on fear-mongering and false accusations. If the President is serious about protecting the American people, he'll drop the campaign-style rhetoric and work with us to pass a realistic and workable intelligence surveillance bill,” Holt said.