Senator Lankford Applauds Passage of USA FREEDOM Act
WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) released the following statement after voting for the USA FREEDOM Act (H.R.2048), which passed the Senate by a vote of 67 to 32:
“Oklahomans demand that their elected officials not only keep them safe but also protect their freedoms. National security and privacy are not mutually exclusive – they can both be accomplished through responsible intelligence gathering and careful respect for the freedoms of law-abiding Americans. The USA FREEDOM Act will end bulk collection of telephone metadata by the federal government, increase transparency, and continue the most important aspects of the FBI’s and NSA’s work. As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I want to provide the intelligence community the tools it needs to combat terrorist threats and ensure that our freedoms are fiercely protected. I’m pleased that Congress has sent this legislation to the President’s desk to be signed into law.”
The USA FREEDOM Act reforms our surveillance programs by:
- Strengthening the enforcement statute used to prohibit bulk collection, which ensures the federal government cannot engage in large-scale, indiscriminate collection, such as data from an entire state, city, or even zip code.
- Ends bulk collection of any business records and bulk collection of telephone metadata by the federal government.
- Imposes extra oversight provisions, such as additional Inspector General reviews.
- Increases transparency by requiring court opinions to be made publicly available.
- Strengthens terrorism tracking by closing a loophole in current law that requires the government to stop tracking foreign terrorists when they enter the U.S. This provision gives the government 72 hours to track foreign terrorists when they initially enter the United States (it does not apply to U.S. persons) – enough time for the government to obtain the proper authority under U.S. law.
Lankford serves on the Committee on Appropriations, the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, the Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Indian Affairs Committee.