Buck Votes for USA Freedom Act of 2015
FOR IMMEDAITE RELEASE
CONTACT: Katherine Rosario, 202-226-8414
Washington â€“ The House passed the USA Freedom Act of 2015 (H.R. 2048), which reforms our nationâ€™s intelligence-gathering programs operated under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Section 215 of the Patriot Act, along with two other provisions, are set to expire at the end of the month. Congressman Ken Buck (R-CO) voted in favor of the bill and released the following statement:
â€œThe USA Freedom Act is a positive step toward protecting Americansâ€™ right to privacy while simultaneously ensuring their safety. The Act secures important reforms that end bulk data collection, strengthen protection of civil liberties, and prevent government overreach. This bill was the result of a careful compromise between the House Judiciary Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. I appreciate the efforts that went into crafting this compromise. It is because we must act quickly to reform the carte blanche collection of information that we did not adopt amendments that might have improved the bill further,â€ said Buck.
He continued, â€œAlong with protecting our national security it is necessary to protect the rights of every American. It is important to ensure that any federal employee who intentionally, knowingly, or willfully requests or uses information made available under this Act for any unlawful purposes, including private or political gain, be held liable for their actions. While the vast majority of federal employees are outstanding fiduciaries of the public trust, we must safeguard against any rogue individual who might abuse their authority under this Act. Americans must be assured that our privacy is protected and that neither the government nor any agent affiliated with the government can abuse our privacy. We must ensure that the government and its agents abide by the Constitution, and protect our rights as well as our safety. I am also working with my colleagues on further legislation that prohibits warrantless searches of government databases for information about U.S. citizens, and forbids government agencies from mandating or even requesting â€œback doorsâ€ into commercial products that can be used for surveillance. I will continue to work to balance our national security and constitutional liberties.â€
Although the USA Freedom Act does not explicitly set penalties for those who abuse the power it conveys, there are basic laws in place that safeguard privacy. It must be stressed that the protections afforded to Americans under statutes, such as the Espionage Act and the Privacy Act of 1974 must be adhered to in the implementation of the USA Freedom Act. These established statues prohibit federal employees from improperly obtaining information for private gain, or to the detriment of this nation. It is imperative that federal agencies seriously consider the penalties established through these statutes and enforce them expeditiously in the case of any willful violation.
Rep. Ken Buck (CO-04) is the Freshman Class President. He serves on the House Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. He serves on the OGR Subcommittees on Government Operations and the Interior and is a member of the Judiciary Subcommittees on Immigration and Border Security and Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations.