[Congressional Record Volume 161, Number 74 (Thursday, May 14, 2015)]
[Pages S2899-S2908]


  Mr. UDALL. Thank you, Mr. President.

                              PATRIOT Act

  Today, I rise to express my longstanding concerns about the PATRIOT 
Act and in particular section 215, which is set to expire on June 1. A 
major use of this section--the bulk collection of Americans' phone 
records--has just been ruled illegal by the U.S. Court of Appeals for 
the Second Circuit. If we didn't already have enough concern about 
reauthorizing section 215, this decision should raise alarm bells. Yet, 
the majority leader is asking us to act quickly to reauthorize this law 
unchanged for another 5 years.
  Without significant reforms to the law, I cannot support an extension 
of any length of time, and I urge my colleagues to listen to the court 
and listen to the numerous oversight groups from within the 
administration and the millions of citizens who are saying that 
Congress needs to rethink whether this program is violating our rights 
in the name of keeping us safe.
  Ben Franklin was very fond of saying, ``Those who give up liberty in 
the name of security deserve neither.'' That is where we are today. 
Congress passed the PATRIOT Act over a decade ago after the 9/11 
terrorist attacks. Our Nation was devastated. Our security was at 
stake. But this legislation was hasty, it was far-reaching, and it 
undermined the constitutional right to privacy of law-abiding citizens. 
It still does.
  I have made my opposition clear in the years since 2001. The major 
advocates of this law--primarily former President Bush and his key 
national security officials--used a potent combination of fear and 
patriotism to drive this bill through. I was one of only 66 Members to 
vote against the PATRIOT Act in the House of Representatives. I also 
voted against the reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act in 2006 and the 
FISA Amendments Act of 2008.
  In 2011, I opposed once again the extension of three controversial 
provisions of the PATRIOT Act: roving wiretaps, government access to 
``any tangible items,'' such as library and business records, and the 
surveillance of targets that are not connected to any identified 
terrorist group.
  Back in 2001, I said on the House floor that I was unable to support 
this bill because it does not strike the right balance between 
protecting our liberties and providing for the security of our 
citizens. I went on to say: The saving grace here is that the sunset 
provision forces us to come back and to look at these issues again when 
heads are cooler and when we are not in the heat of battle.
  That is exactly what we should do. To govern in a post-9/11 world, we 
have to strike the right balance, to fight terrorism without trampling 
our Constitution. We can do both. The Bill of Rights was established 
immediately following a war. Our Founders knew the tension between 
freedom and security. Our Nation was founded on the right of individual 
liberty, in stark contrast to the long tradition of total sovereign 
authority of most other governments.
  I strongly believe we should not force through a reauthorization of 
the PATRIOT Act without a hard look at the long-term ramifications of 
the law. We must look at how the law is being used for things such as 
the collection of all Americans' phone records. We must consider 
whether that use is necessary

[[Page S2902]]

to keep us safe and whether it is in line with the Constitutional 
rights we are sworn to uphold.
  I urge our colleagues not to be swayed by the false argument that 
this provision must be reauthorized urgently, that we will be 
vulnerable to attack if we let it expire--another false argument.
  Here is the reality. This provision is being used to sweep up the 
phone calls of all Americans across this country. Yet there is zero 
conclusive evidence that it has kept us safe from attack.
  What we do have, however, is ample evidence that the PATRIOT Act, 
section 215, has been used to violate the privacy of everyday 
Americans. I believe it has violated the Constitution. I certainly 
agree with the Federal court of appeals which last week ruled that the 
bulk phone record collection goes far beyond what Congress intended 
when the law was passed.
  We have a decade of hindsight. Let's be honest in this debate and 
let's be thorough. The entire law bears careful scrutiny. Senators Lee 
and Leahy have introduced the USA FREEDOM Act to reform the law while 
reauthorizing the expiring provisions. I commend their efforts, but I 
think we can go even further.
  The House also overwhelmingly passed its version of the USA FREEDOM 
Act just yesterday. It deserves Senate consideration. Congress has a 
duty for robust oversight, to ensure real constitutional privacy rights 
are upheld. I pushed for this from when I was in the House. I advocated 
then for the creation of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight 
Board, also called PCLOB.
  In June 2013, after details about NSA's bulk collection program were 
made public, I led a bipartisan call for the PCLOB to conduct an 
independent review. Their review assessed the impact of NSA's spying 
program on Americans' constitutional rights and civil liberties. The 
Board concluded what many Americans had feared: One, that the spying 
program is an unconstitutional intrusion on their privacy right, and, 
two, that it has almost no impact on safety.
  The Board's oversight role is crucial. Its independent evaluation of 
section 215 demonstrates why. It has an important job, and it requires 
more support so it can do its job. That is why yesterday Senator Wyden 
and I reintroduced the Strengthening Privacy, Oversight, and 
Transparency Act, or SPOT Act. Our bill, with bipartisan cosponsors in 
the House, would strengthen the Board. This is key to real oversight, 
and it should be included as part of any reauthorization of the PATRIOT 
  The SPOT Act extends the Board's authority to play a watchdog role 
over surveillance conducted for purposes beyond counterterrorism. It 
also allows the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board to issue 
subpoenas without having to wait for the Justice Department to issue 
them. It makes the Board member's positions full-time.
  Finally, it makes the Board an authorized recipient for whistleblower 
complaints for employees in the intelligence community, so they can 
take concerns to an independent organization, one that understands the 
intelligence community. I know we must protect the Nation from future 
attacks. But there must also be balance. We cannot give up our 
constitutional protections in the name of security. To do so does not 
protect our Constitution nor does it increase our security.
  We need to have a serious debate about these issues and allow 
Senators to offer amendments. This is important to the American people, 
to our security, and to our liberties. Congress cannot just leave town 
and leave this work undone.
  I voted against the PATRIOT Act and the FISA Act amendments, because 
they unduly infringed on the guaranteed rights of our citizens. I 
believe that time has shown that to be true, and the time has come to 
correct it. We all value the work of our intelligence community. Their 
efforts are vital to our Nation's security. But I believe these 
amendments are crucial.
  We can protect our citizens and their constitutional rights. We acted 
in haste before. It was a mistake then. It would be a mistake now to 
approve a straight reauthorization of that law. We need to take the 
time this time to get it right.
  I see Senator Wyden is on the floor.
  I yield the floor.