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FLEOA Urges Passage of Patriot Act

May 27, 2015

 

The Honorable Mitch McConnell

Majority Leader
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

 

Dear Majority Leader McConnell:

 

The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association is the largest non-partisan, non-profit law enforcement association representing over 26,000 federal law enforcement officers from the 65 federal agencies. Our members serve on the front lines protecting our nation from terrorist and criminal threats. Every day, these officers use the Patriot Act to keep Americans safe, and they do so under the microscope of strict congressional, agency and judicial oversight.

The USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 ("Patriot Act”) and related authorities under the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 give the law enforcement and intelligence communities 21st Century tools to combat 21st Century crimes. In today's world, terrorist and criminals use the internet, cellular and satellite phones, phishing schemes, social networking and wire transfers to organize, surveil, establish and execute their crimes. Prior to the enactment of these Acts, law enforcement found itself playing catch up to criminal schemes. Today, as evidenced by many thwarted terrorist schemes and criminal enterprises, intelligence experts can stay ahead of those who are constantly challenging the technological scope of law enforcement.

While the Senate considers whether it will continue providing the American people with the security that they deserve, we implore you to preserve and continue the Patriot Act with special emphasis on several provisions that are vital to the integrity and value of information gathered for law enforcement and national security.First, to combat the sophisticated techniques used by terrorists and criminals to evade detection, we urge that the government needs a level playing field by continuing authorities related to the pursuit of 21stCentury crimes as provided through the Foreign Intelligence Service Act (FISA) courts.

FISA and the capability to conduct authorized roving electronic surveillance of non-U.S. persons who engage in international terrorism, and access to electronic information obtained under a subpoena, a search warrant and other court orders.These authorities, currently authorized under law but expiring on June 1, 2015, receive intense individualized judicial review and therefore reflect no indications of abuse or misuse by government officials. On the contrary, among the many success stories are more than 30 arrests during the past year alone of individuals who sought a variety of "lone wolf” terrorism plots against the people of the United States.

Second, we believe some in Congress do not remember or do not appreciate why the Patriot Act and related laws passed with wide bipartisan support during the last decade.These laws were the appropriate response to grave and growing threats against the United States. These carefully crafted laws balance the need for informed intelligence with the need for privacy and civil rights guarantees. With the expansion of technology and access to the internet, the threats of a decade ago have increased in frequency, variety and intensity. We simply cannot afford to turn off these critical authorities and tools for any length of time, as even the smallest disruptions open a large window of opportunity for those wishing to do us harm.

FLEOA wishes to remind the Congress of the many layers of privacy and civil rights protections instilled into the current law. In addition to heavy congressional and judicial oversight, we cite Section 1001 of the Patriot Act, which enables the Inspector General to investigate any allegations of misuse by government employees regarding these authorities, and it requires regular reporting to the Congress of its actions under this provision.

FLEOA seeks a full and permanent reauthorization of the Patriot Act and related laws that continue to provide for the security of the people of the United States, with emphasis on these important law enforcement and national security tools.Technologically advanced criminals and terrorists do not "sunset” or must they wait for "extensions” to continue their activities. As the officers and agents who are largely responsible for the day-to-day protection of our nation, we request the uninterrupted continuation of the laws and authorities that give us the lawful tools that have and will keep our nation safe.

Sincerely,

Jon Adler
FLEOA National President