[Congressional Record Volume 162, Number 100 (Wednesday, June 22, 2016)]
[Pages S4433-S4456]



                           Amendment No. 4787

  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, as a member of the Appropriations 
Committee, I am concerned about a pending amendment, McCain amendment 
No. 4787.
  We had a series of votes earlier this week on sensible gun safety 
measures. We know by all the polling that the overwhelming majority of 
Americans supported these measures, but they were blocked by Senate 
  Now it appears the Republican leadership wants to change the subject. 
They are resorting to scare tactics to divert the attention of the 
American people from their failure to act in response to mass 
shootings. Let's be clear about what we need to stay safe. We need 
universal background checks for firearms purchases and we need to give 
the FBI the authority to deny guns to terrorist suspects.
  Senate Republicans rejected those commonsense measures earlier this 
week, but we still have the chance to give law enforcement real and 
effective tools. We should strengthen our laws to make it easier to 
prosecute firearms traffickers and straw purchasers.
  I am a gun owner. I know if I go in to buy a gun in Vermont--even 
though the gun store owner has known me most of their life--I have to 
go through a background check. But you can have somebody who has 
restraining orders against them, warrants outstanding against them, or 
who could have been convicted of heinous crimes, and they can walk into 
a gun show, with no background check, and buy anything they want.
  We also know they can go and buy all kinds of weapons to sell at a 
great profit to criminal gangs that couldn't buy them otherwise, and of 
course to those who are going to commit acts of terrorism and hate 

[[Page S4435]]

  We also need to fund the FBI and the Justice Department so they have 
the resources to combat acts of terrorism and hate. Those are the 
elements of the amendment that Senators Mikulski, Baldwin, Nelson and I 
filed yesterday.
  In contrast, Republicans are proposing to reduce independent 
oversight of FBI investigations, and make permanent a law that as of 
last year had never been used. The McCain amendment would eliminate the 
requirement for a court order when the FBI wants to obtain detailed 
information about Americans' Internet activities in national security 
  You can almost hear J. Edgar Hoover, who loved to be able to spy on 
any American he didn't like, asking: Why didn't I have that when I was 
the head of the FBI?
  The McCain amendment could cover Web sites Americans have visited; 
extensive information on who Americans communicate with through email, 
chat, and text messages; and where and when Americans log onto the 
Internet and into social media accounts. Over time, this information 
would provide highly revealing details about Americans' personal lives, 
Americans who are totally innocent of any kind of criminal activity, 
and they get all of this without prior court approval.
  That is why this amendment is opposed by major technology companies 
and privacy groups across the political spectrum, from FreedomWorks to 
Google, to the ACLU.
  Senator Cornyn and others have argued that we cannot prevent people 
on the terrorist watch list from obtaining firearms without due process 
and judicial review. Yet at the same time they are proposing to remove 
judicial approval when the FBI wants to find out what Web sites 
Americans are visiting. The FBI already has the authority to obtain 
this information if it obtains a court order under section 215 of the 
  None of us would feel comfortable if the FBI or any law enforcement 
agency could just walk into our home, rifle through our desks, and go 
through the notes of whom we have called or whom we have talked to. But 
they are saying because we have done it electronically and through the 
Internet, we ought to be able to just ignore any right of privacy and 
go into it.
  So rather than trying to distract us from their opposition to 
commonsense gun measures, such as their opposition to requiring 
somebody who has criminal indictments pending against them from being 
able to go to a gun show and buy guns, Republicans should support 
actions that will help protect us, such as those in the amendment filed 
by Senators Mikulski, Baldwin, Nelson, and myself.
  Instead of kowtowing to a very well-organized special interest 
lobbying group, why not listen to the lobby of the American people and 
do what Americans want. I hope Senators will oppose the McCain 
amendment. I hope they will support measures that will actually help 
keep our country safe.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor to the distinguished Senator from 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oregon.
  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, I thank my colleague. He and I have worked 
on this. He is really outlining the hypocrisy behind what has been 
going on over the past few days.
  Mr. President, due process ought to apply as it relates to guns, but 
due process wouldn't apply as it relates to the Internet activity of 
millions of Americans. My view is that the country wants policies that 
promote safety and liberty. Increasingly, we are getting policies that 
do not do much of either. Supporters of this amendment, the McCain 
amendment, have suggested that Americans need to choose between 
protecting their security and protecting their constitutional right to 
  The fact is, this amendment doesn't improve either. What it does is, 
it gives an FBI field office new authority to administratively scoop up 
Americans' digital records, their email and chat records, their text 
message logs, Web-browsing history, and certain types of location 
information without ever going to a judge.
  The reason this is unnecessary--and it is something I believe in very 
strongly and worked hard for it in the FREEDOM Act--there is a very 
specific section in the FREEDOM Act, which I worked for and authored in 
a separate effort in 2013, that allows the FBI to demand all of these 
records--all of the records I described--in an emergency and then go 
get court approval after the fact. So unless you are opposed to court 
oversight, even after the fact, there is no reason to support this 
  The FBI has not, in any way, suggested that having this authority 
would have stopped the San Bernardino attack or the massacre at an LGBT 
nightclub in Orlando. That is because there is no reason to think that 
is the case.
  The Founding Fathers wrote the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution 
for a good reason. We can protect security and liberty. We can have 
both. Somehow, the sponsors of the McCain amendment have said: You can 
really only have one or the other.
  Mr. President and colleagues, the other argument that was made 
yesterday--some have said, we have to have this amendment because it 
will just fix a typo in the law. That is not true. I urge colleagues to 
take a look at the record on this. The record makes it clear that this 
provision was carefully circumscribed, was narrowly drawn. The notion 
that this is some sort of typo simply doesn't hold water.
  The fact is, the Bush administration--hardly an administration that 
was soft on terror--said this was not needed, this was not something 
they would support; that the national security letter statute ought to 
be interpreted narrowly just the way the authors in 1993 envisioned.
  I see my friend, the distinguished chair of the Intelligence 
Committee. I know we are going to hear how this is absolutely pivotal 
in order to protect the security of the American people. I will recap.
  No. 1, never once has the FBI suggested this would have prevented 
Orlando; No. 2, in the face of an emergency under the legislation I 
authored, the government, in an Orlando or San Bernardino issue, can go 
get the records immediately and then after the fact settle up; No. 3, 
this was not a typo. This was what the authors had suggested; No. 4, 
the Bush administration, hardly soft on terror, didn't believe what 
this amendment was all about was necessary. This is an amendment that 
would undermine fundamental American rights without making our country 
  In my view, undermining the role of judicial oversight, particularly 
when it doesn't make the country safer and we have a specific statutory 
provision for emergencies to protect the American people, this 
amendment defies common sense.
  I hope my colleagues will oppose it. I urge my colleagues to do so. I 
think it is going to be very hard to explain to the American people how 
an approach like the one behind this amendment, that would allow any 
FBI field office to issue an administrative subpoena for email and chat 
records, text message logs, web-browsing history, location 
information--that you ought to be able to do it without judicial 
oversight, when you have a specific law that says government has the 
right to move quickly in an emergency. I think it is going to be pretty 
hard to explain to the American people how you are going to have an 
arrangement like this that does not make us safer and certainly 
jeopardizes our liberties.
  I am for both, and this amendment doesn't do much of either.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from North Carolina.
  Mr. BURR. Mr. President, as I grew up, I remember listening daily to 
Paul Harvey on the radio. Paul Harvey's motto was, ``and now the rest 
of the story.''
  That is where we are. I give Senator Wyden a tremendous amount of 
credit for consistency. He is consistently against providing the tools 
that law enforcement needs to defend the American people. That is fine, 
if that is your position, but let's talk about fact.
  This statute was changed in 1993, and in one subpart of that 
legislation, it was not carried over about the ISP--Internet service 
provider--responsibility to provide this information when requested by 
law enforcement.
  From 1993 until 2010, every technology company, when requested by the 
FBI, continued to provide this information. This is not a new 

[[Page S4436]]

It is clearly something that continued from 1993 until 2010, 6 years 
ago, when all of a sudden a tech company looked at it and said: Boy, it 
is in this subpart, but it doesn't state it in that subpart so we are 
not going to provide it for you anymore.
  Myth: We have never asked for this. We have never had this.
  No, we have had it for a long time, and until 2010, every company 
supplied it to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. All of a sudden, 
one company's general counsel said: We don't see it in this subpart; 
therefore, we are not bound to provide that for you.
  We are either going to fight terrorism and prosecute criminals or we 
are not going to do it. We can take away every tool because we use this 
excuse that technology now forbids us from accessing information.
  Let me say about this, we get no content. To get content, you have to 
go to a judge on a bench, and that judge has to give you permission to 
actually read the content. We are talking about addresses, locations, 
times that, in the case of reconstruction or in the case of trying to 
prevent an attack, could be crucial.

  The one fact I heard from my colleague from Oregon is that this 
wouldn't have stopped San Bernardino or Orlando. He is 100 percent 
correct. But I hope there is no legislation we are considering in the 
Senate that is about a single incident. This is about a framework of 
tools law enforcement can use today, tomorrow, and into the future; it 
is not about looking back and saying: But it didn't exist here.
  Let me just explain what happens if, in fact, this inadvertent change 
isn't made. It means the FBI goes from a 1-day process of getting this 
vital information to over a month. To go to the FISA Court and get 
approval to seek the information--over a month. If it had to do with a 
terrorist attack, boy, I hope the American people are comfortable with 
saying: As long as the FBI figures this out a month in advance, then we 
are OK. But when you look at the MO of attacks around the world, in 
most cases, we had no notice. In most cases, maybe another thread of 
information might have given us the preventive time we needed.
  In many cases, connecting the dots is also a matter of time. Director 
Comey came and had a session with all Members of the Senate last week. 
His comment about expediting this information into the public domain 
was because he wanted to assure the American people that they had 
reviewed as much as they could to certify that there was not another 
cell, that the American people could sleep safe that night. Well, this 
is part of that process--being able to access the information you need 
in a timely fashion.
  You know something he forgot to say is that this is the Obama 
administration's language. We can talk all we want to about Bush or 
Clinton or whatever; this is the Obama administration--the one that has 
the responsibility today to keep the American people safe. It is the 
administration that has come to the Senate, provided the language, and 
asked for this clarification to be made because it was inadvertently 
left out in 1993.
  So we are here today to fix something that is broken, not to expand 
in any way, shape, or form the powers or to intrude into privacy, 
because there is no content collected. This is simply to provide law 
enforcement with tools that enable them to fulfill their mission, which 
is to keep America safe.
  In addition to the ECTA fix, let me say there is a lone-wolf 
provision that extends the lone wolf permanently. The lone wolf 
provision provides the government's ability to target non-U.S. 
persons--foreigners only--who engage or attempt to engage in 
international terrorism but do not show specific links to a foreign 
power or terrorist organization to be under the lone-wolf provision. It 
is too important to let it expire.
  This provision is not about addressing or responding to a single 
specific threat--particularly one that has already manifested itself--
any more than the underlying bill is. I urge my colleagues to support 
this legislation. The American people need it, law enforcement needs 
it, and the Obama administration wants it. It is what we operated under 
from an understanding from 1993 until 2010, when a general counsel in 
one company decided to buck the system and say: Spell it out for me or 
we are not going to do it. Let's spell it out for them and give law 
enforcement this tool.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arizona.
  Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, how much time remains?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Ten minutes remains.
  Mr. McCAIN. I won't take the entire 10 minutes. I notice the Senator 
from Oregon, and I would be glad to yield to him 3 minutes of the 10 
minutes remaining so he can speak in his usual articulate fashion.
  Mr. WYDEN. I thank my colleague for the time.
  Mr. McCAIN. I yield 3 minutes of my 10 minutes to the Senator from 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oregon.
  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, I want to come back again to the argument I 
made earlier. The Senator from North Carolina said the FBI would have 
to wait around if there was something that really had the well-being of 
the American people at stake. That is simply inaccurate. In the USA 
FREEDOM Act, I was able to add a provision I feel very strongly about, 
which says if the FBI thinks the security and well-being of the 
American people are on the line, the FBI can move immediately to 
collect all the information we have been talking about. So there is no 
waiting. There is no dawdling under the amendment we put in the FREEDOM 
Act. The government can go get that information immediately and come 
back and then settle up later with the judge. Frankly, that was 
something I felt extremely strongly about because I wanted it 
understood that there is not a debate about privacy versus security. 
This is about ensuring that we have both, and that is why that 
emergency provision is so important.
  My colleague made mention of the fact that the FBI would be waiting 
around if the country's safety and well-being were on the line. No 
way--not because of the specific language in the USA FREEDOM Act I 
offered and my colleague supported. This is about ensuring that the 
American people can have both security and liberty.
  We have heard the lone-wolf provision referred to. That was extended 
for 4 years in the USA FREEDOM Act. I supported that as well.
  So what we are talking about today is not making the country safer 
but threatening our liberty. And I did draw a contrast between this and 
the issue with respect to guns. Our colleagues said we ought to have 
due process as it relates to guns. I certainly support the idea of due 
process, but it shouldn't be a double standard--we are going to have 
due process there, and we are not going to have due process as it 
relates to these national security letters.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator has used 3 minutes.
  Mr. WYDEN. If I could have 10 additional seconds, and I appreciate my 
colleague's courtesy.
  Mr. McCAIN. Certainly.
  Mr. WYDEN. The amendment gives the FBI field office authority to 
scoop up all this digital material without judicial oversight. That is 
a mistake.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arizona.
  Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, obviously I urge my colleagues to support 
this amendment. I thank the distinguished chairman of the Select 
Committee on Intelligence, who knows as much about this issue as any 
Member of Congress or anyone else, and I appreciate the great job he is 
doing and his important remarks.
  Look, this is pretty simple. The amendment has the support of the 
National Fraternal Order of Police; the Federal Law Enforcement 
Agencies Association, which is the largest national professional law 
enforcement association; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Agents 
Association. Literally every law enforcement agency in America supports 
this amendment so they can do their job and defend America.
  Ronald Reagan used to say that facts are stubborn things. The fact 
is, according to the Director of the CIA, according to the Director of 
National Intelligence, right now Baghdadi, in Raqqa, is calling people 
in and saying: Get on this. Get on this and get back to the United 
States or Europe and contact us then and we will attack.

[[Page S4437]]

  There will be more attacks, according to both the Director of the CIA 
and the Director of National Intelligence.
  Right now there are, unfortunately, young people in this country who 
are self-radicalizing. And what vehicle is doing the self-
radicalization? It is the Internet.
  We are not asking for content here; we are just asking for usage, the 
same way we can do with financial records, the same way we can do with 
telephone records. This is an important tool.
  How could anyone--and I say this with great respect for the Senator 
from Oregon. He is a passionate and articulate advocate for what he 
believes in, and he has my respect and friendship. But I ask, in all 
due respect, after the events of the last few days, when we know that 
attacker was self-radicalized--and what did he use for it? He used the 
  I don't know if that attack could have been prevented, but I know 
that attacks can be prevented because that is the view of the chairman 
of the Select Committee on Intelligence, the Director of the Federal 
Bureau of Investigation, the Director of the CIA, and the Director of 
National Intelligence, who are not interested in taking away our 
liberties but are interested in carrying out their fundamental 
responsibilities, which happen to be to protect this Nation.
  So all I can say to my colleagues is that we need to protect the 
rights of all of our citizens. We can't intrude in their lives. This 
constant tension will go on between the right of privacy and national 
security, and I think there are gray areas we need to debate and come 
to agreement on finally over time, but this issue is, honestly, a no-
  When the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who is 
probably one of the most respected individuals in America, admired and 
respected by all of us, is saying this is one of his highest priorities 
in order to protect America, then I think we should listen to him. When 
the Director of the CIA says they are planning further attacks on the 
United States of America and Europe, we should give them the tools they 
need to prevent that. When the Director of National Intelligence 
testifies before the Committee on Armed Services that there will be 
further attacks, shouldn't we give them this rudimentary tool, which, 
according to the chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, was 
basically an oversight? Shouldn't we correct that, and can't we protect 
the rights of every individual and every American and still enact this 
really modest change, which, although in some ways modest, according to 
the Director of the FBI, is of his highest priorities?
  So let's listen. Let's listen to those whom we entrust our Nation's 
security to after going through the confirmation process and the 
approval or disapproval of the Members of this body, who are then 
entrusted with the solemn obligation of defending this Nation. They are 
saying unanimously that they need this authority in order to carry out 
their responsibilities.
  Mr. President, we are going to vote here in a couple of minutes, and 
I would urge my colleagues to respect the views--maybe not mine, maybe 
not the chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, but let's 
respect the views of those who are entrusted with defending this 
Nation. I believe we should give them this authority.
  This debate will go on, I say to my friend from Oregon. There will be 
other areas where there is tension between the right of every citizen 
to privacy and the requirement to defend this Nation because we are 
facing a challenge the likes of which we have never seen before, and 
that is this whole thing of self-radicalization and people who are 
sneaking into this country to commit acts of terror, which has the 
entire American public concerned--San Bernardino, Orlando.
  I hope the Senator from Oregon and those who will vote no on this 
amendment understand that in the view of the experts on terrorism in 
this world--absolutely are convinced there will be further attacks. 
Shouldn't we give them this fundamental tool, this basic tool they have 
asked for? I believe they respect all Americans' right to privacy as 
  I urge my colleagues to vote aye on this amendment, and then we can 
move on to other ways to help our enforcement agencies and our 
intelligence agencies defend this Nation against this threat, which is 
not going away.
  Mr. President, I believe my time has expired.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Mexico.
  Mr. HEINRICH. Mr. President, has all the time expired?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. All time has expired.
  Mr. HEINRICH. I ask unanimous consent to speak for 2 minutes.
  Mr. McCAIN. I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.

                             Cloture Motion

  Pursuant to rule XXII, the Chair lays before the Senate the pending 
cloture motion, which the clerk will state.
  The bill clerk read as follows:

                             Cloture Motion

       We, the undersigned Senators, in accordance with the 
     provisions of rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, 
     do hereby move to bring to a close debate on Senate amendment 
     No. 4787 to amendment No. 4685 to Calendar No. 120, H.R. 
     2578, an act making appropriations for the Departments of 
     Commerce and Justice, Science, and Related Agencies for the 
     fiscal year ending September 30, 2016, and for other 
         Mitch McConnell, Chuck Grassley, Orrin G. Hatch, John 
           Thune, Thad Cochran, Marco Rubio, Tom Cotton, Richard 
           Burr, Pat Roberts, Thom Tillis, Mike Rounds, John 
           Cornyn, John Barrasso, Deb Fischer, Cory Gardner, 
           Shelley Moore Capito, Johnny Isakson.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. By unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum 
call has been waived.
  The question is, Is it the sense of the Senate that debate on 
amendment No. 4787, offered by the Senator from Kentucky for the 
Senator from Arizona, to amendment No. 4685 to H.R. 2578, shall be 
brought to a close?
  The yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk called the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. The following Senator is necessarily absent: the Senator 
from Idaho (Mr. Crapo).
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from Indiana (Mr. Donnelly), 
the Senator from California (Mrs. Feinstein), and the Senator from New 
Jersey (Mr. Menendez) are necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Sullivan). Are there any other Senators in 
the Chamber desiring to vote?
  The yeas and nays resulted--yeas 58, nays 38, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 108 Leg.]





                             NOT VOTING--4

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. On this vote, the yeas are 58, the nays are 
  Three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn not having voted 
in the affirmative, the motion is rejected.
  The Republican leader.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I enter a motion to reconsider the 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The motion is entered.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. PORTMAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                           Amendment No. 4787

  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, would the Senator from Arizona yield for a 
  Mr. McCAIN. Absolutely.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I would say to my friend from Arizona, 
before lunch we had a vote on a very important amendment the Senator 
sponsored, along with the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, that 
received a majority vote of the Senate but not enough to get us to the 
60-vote threshold. I know the majority leader has put in a motion to 
reconsider, which will allow him to bring that up because of some 
  I want to ask my friend, during the time the shooter in Orlando was 
under surveillance by the FBI and was actually put on a watch list, the 
authority they had to gather information about him and particularly his 
computer usage by issuing a subpoena to the Internet service provider 
in order to identify IP addresses and perhaps email addresses, not 
content--they were denied the opportunity to get that kind of 
information. Does the Senator have any idea whether perhaps the FBI 
might have been tipped to the fact that this shooter--let's say he was 
accessing YouTube videos of Anwar al-Awlaki like Nidal Hasan in Fort 
Hood was before he committed his terrorist attack there, or let's say 
one of the email addresses they were able to collect was one of a known 
terrorist or somebody the FBI suspected was complicit in terrorism, 
obviously, under the Senator's amendment, in order to get the content 
of that, the FBI would have to go to the FISA Court and establish 
probable cause.
  Does the Senator have an opinion whether that kind of information, to 
which the FBI was blinded by the lapse in this authority--whether that 
would be helpful information in identifying potential threats like we 
saw in Orlando?
  Mr. McCAIN. I say to my friend and colleague who has done so much 
hard work on trying to achieve a careful balance and compromise that 
all of us could agree to on the issue of weapons, I appreciate the 
question and I appreciate his work.
  I can't specifically state I know for a fact that the failure of the 
ability of the FBI to monitor and know about use of the Internet--not 
content but use of the Internet, such as the Senator mentioned IP 
addresses and others. I can't say that would have prevented it. What I 
can say, and the Senator knows, the Director of the FBI said this is 
the most important tool he needs to defend this country against further 
attacks. Is there anyone now in America who doesn't believe there is 
going to be another self-radicalized or instructed individual who will 
try to attack the United States of America? Of course not.
  In their wisdom, a majority of my colleagues over there and a group 
of my colleagues over here have rejected the urgent request from the 
Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I have seen a lot of 
strange votes around here, I would say to my friend from Texas, but to 
see Republicans, who advertise themselves as trying to protect the 
people of this Nation, not give the Director of the Federal Bureau of 
Investigation the tool he needs the most to counter what is clearly 
coming, frankly, is one of the most puzzling and disappointing actions 
that have been taken by my colleagues on this side of the aisle.
  Mr. CORNYN. I thank the Senator.
  I would merely add, this is not a partisan issue. As the Presiding 
Officer and as the Senator from Arizona knows, the Intelligence 
Committee has voted in a bipartisan way, with only one Senator 
dissenting in the Intelligence reauthorization bill, to reinstate this 
very authority the amendment of the Senator from Arizona pertained to. 
I believe, of all the votes we have had this week, the vote on Senator 
McCain's amendment was the one with the greatest potential to stop 
future terrorist attacks like we saw in Orlando--because we all know 
the shooter in Orlando was under two separate FBI investigations and he 
was put on a watch list. With so much discussion about watch lists, he 
was no longer on a watch list so the FBI was not notified when he went 
in and purchased the two firearms he used in this attack. We also know 
he was a licensed security guard, and he actually had a license to own 
  This is a complicated and complex and confusing picture we have all 
been presented, and we are all trying to figure out what is the 
solution or what could we do to help reduce the possibility that 
something like this might happen in the future? I can guarantee one 
thing. It is not to limit the constitutional rights of law-abiding 
citizens. That is not going to stop future terrorist attacks. If we 
fail to give law enforcement and counterterrorism authorities the means 
by which to identify these self-radicalized terrorists before they 
kill--if we don't do that, then shame on us. This is not partisan, as I 
said, because a bipartisan majority--with one dissenting vote--on the 
Intelligence Committee voted for this provision, but we need to get 
serious about this. I know, because of some absenteeism today--
necessary, I am sure--we didn't have every Senator here present and 

[[Page S4454]]

  I hope in the interim, from the time of that failed cloture vote on 
the McCain-Burr amendment until the time we vote on this again when the 
majority leader moves to reconsider, we can have some serious 
discussions and serious efforts at trying to make our country safer and 
protecting innocent Americans from terrorist attacks on our own soil.
  If we deny the FBI Director the No. 1 legislative priority of the 
agency, as he has told us time and time again--most recently in the 
SCIF, in the secure facility. Obviously, that part is not classified, 
but he said this is a very important tool. If we are going to ask the 
FBI and our counterterrorism authorities to connect the dots, well, 
they can't connect the dots unless they can collect the dots. Again, 
this is with proper and appropriate regard, under the Fourth Amendment, 
for American citizens when it comes to searches of their property or 
seizures. Under the Fourth Amendment, we know there has to be 
established probable cause that a crime has been committed, established 
before an impartial judge. We are not talking about the content. We are 
saying, if there are enough dots to connect together to raise a 
reasonable suspicion on the part of our counterterrorism authorities, 
they ought to then have the opportunity to go to a judge and get the 
content of that communication under appropriate constitutional Fourth 
Amendment procedures. If they don't even have access to the basic 
information, then they can't connect the dots because they can't 
collect them.
  So of all the votes we have had this week, I believe the vote on the 
McCain-Burr amendment was the most important because I think it was the 
one most likely to produce additional tools that our counterterrorism 
authorities could use in an investigation to identify self-radicalized 
terrorists in the United States before they strike. It is too late 
after they strike, when we are all asking the question: What can we 
possibly do in order to prevent something like this from happening 
again? We now know what we can do. It may not be a panacea, but it is 
making sure our law enforcement authorities, such as the FBI, have the 
tools they need in order to conduct these investigations, again to 
collect the dots so they can connect those dots.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Flake). The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. COATS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. COATS. Mr. President, there is a lot going on around here. Before 
lunch, we finished a vote that I was very disappointed did not reach 
the 60-vote threshold so we could proceed to debate and vote on what I 
think is one of the more important issues we are dealing with; that is, 
our ability to stop terrorist attacks.
  As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, we have had the 
opportunity to meet several times with Director Comey, the head of the 
FBI, asking him if they have the tools necessary to prevent terrorist 
attacks against innocent Americans. Simply because of changes in 
technology, a tool they had before--and by ``tool,'' a method they had 
before to try to determine who is trying to do us harm--works for one 
type of technology, but new technology, basically because of an 
omission in the language that was never intended by the Congress, does 
not give us the ability to so-call connect the dots to give us the 
opportunity to then go and seek a warrant for further investigation.
  This was the vote we had on the floor. We came up just one or two 
votes short. I know the majority leader made a motion to reconsider so 
we will be taking this up again. I hope my colleagues who did not vote 
for this will take the opportunity as a Member of the U.S. Senate to 
come to the Intelligence Committee to sit down, look at the classified 
information, and assure themselves this does nothing that invades 
anyone's privacy rights.
  There seems to be a lack of information as to what is being asked 
for. In that regard, hopefully during this next few days, we will have 
the opportunity for our colleagues to come and understand this. 
Frankly, it is something many had voted for but were not aware of this 
glitch in the language that has put us in this particular position. I 
will be happy to accompany any of my colleagues to a place where we can 
look through, on a classified basis, why this is so important.