Congressman Tom Reed Monday demanded serious reform of the National Security Agency and surveillance programs, saying reforms need to happen now and that the appropriate process for reform is the intelligence reauthorization bill, up for debate this fall.
"Programs must be fully transparent, fully accountable, and protect civil liberties," Reed said. "We need reforms now that rightfully protect due process and give individuals the ability to challenge the surveillance programs they may be subject to. The NSA needs to be reined in and reformed now."
This fall, the House is slated to consider the intelligence reauthorization bill, a bill Reed says is the appropriate forum for NSA reform, not the appropriations bill considered in the House last month.
"Since appropriations bills deal with funding, the appropriations process from last month would have left the program fully intact and would have only impacted funding that's not a solution," Reed said. "The intelligence reauthorization bill coming up this fall is the answer to truly reforming the program at its core. I care about the protection of civil liberties and believe broad changes need to be considered as part of a national conversation and debate with Americans not attached to a rushed appropriations bill. The intelligence reauthorization will allow us to take effective action and have a real impact on transparency in the NSA."
Reed said he is also hearing concerns from around the district on the NSA and overreach within the agency. "People are very concerned, and rightly so, about government overreach and the potential for abuse of power, especially in light of recent abuse in the IRS," Reed commented. "They don't trust that the NSA will protect their civil liberties."
"The time is now for the debate on balancing national security with preserving and protecting our personal freedoms. A transparent, public approach is what is needed and what must happen."