Congressman Peters’ Statement on DoD Privacy Amendments
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Wednesday, during a series of votes related to the Department of Defense Appropriations bill, H.R. 2397, Congressman Peters joined lawmakers from both ends of the political spectrum in voting ‘no’ on the Amash amendment. He voted no because he felt the amendment went too far in dismantling our intelligence community’s counterterrorism tools.
The Congressman has received numerous security briefings that have underscored that the threats these are used to detect and thwart are very real and very dangerous.
“The counter terrorism tools the Amash amendment sought to eliminate have been used to save American lives,” Peters said. “The threats are real, potentially deadly, could devastate our economy and destroy our infrastructure. These tools are needed to protect us.”
He added that he strongly believes there is a need for additional national dialogue on how we balance the protection of our civil liberties with the protection of American lives. However, the Amash amendment would have eliminated the program altogether without the benefit of that discussion.
On Tuesday, the Congressman also voted to support the Nugent/Pompeo amendment. This amendment helped to ensure the individual privacy protections of U.S. citizens by prohibiting federal funds from being used by intelligence agencies to target a U.S. citizen, or to acquire or store the content of their communications, including phone calls, e-mails and texts. This amendment was passed and included in the DOD Appropriations bill.
“There absolutely must be a balance between protecting our national security and individual privacy rights; while it may never be perfect, America must continue to seek that balance. At the same time, protecting American lives must come first,” he said.
Peters also noted that existing federal law does not allow the intelligence community to listen to your phone calls, or read your emails or text messages without a warrant issued for cause by a federal judge.