|For Immediate Release
February 17, 2011
Contact: Kim Smith Hicks, 202-225-3951
Smith Supports 90-Day Extension of PATRIOT Act Provisions
[Statement on the House Floor]
Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today urged the House to pass a 90-day extension of expiring national security provisions. Below is Chairman Smith’s statement from the House floor.
Chairman Smith: The Senate amendment to H.R. 514 extends the three expiring provisions of the PATRIOT Act for only 90 days. I am disappointed that the Senate refused to agree to the 10 month extension approved by the House earlier this week.
Repeated short-term extensions of these authorities create uncertainty for our intelligence agencies. They don’t know if the tools they rely on to keep America safe today will be available to them tomorrow.
That is why the House sought a 10 month extension – to allow sufficient time to reauthorize the law while providing greater certainty to the intelligence community.
With adoption of this amendment, the House and Senate will now have to move expeditiously to approve a PATRIOT reauthorization bill so we can hopefully avoid the need for another short-term extension.
It is important that the House approve this 90 day extension today to keep the expiring intelligence-gathering provisions in place.
In a recent letter to Congress, Director of National Intelligence Admiral Clapper and Attorney General Holder said that “it is essential that these intelligence tools be reauthorized before they expire” and “they (have) been used in numerous highly sensitive intelligence collection operations.”
Last week, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano warned that “the terrorist threat is at its most heightened state since [the 9/11 terrorist] attacks.”
Just this week, the FBI announced that the probability that the U.S. will be attacked with a weapon of mass destruction at some point is 100%. The head of the FBI’s WMD Directorate said that the type of attack that keeps him awake at night is an attack from a so-called lone wolf.
With the likelihood of a WMD attack at 100%, we cannot afford to leave our intelligence officials without of the tools they need to keep America safe.
The War on Terror is not over. But the terrorist threat is constantly evolving. We must fully arm our intelligence community with the resources they need to prevent another devastating and deadly terrorist attack.