Washington—Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released the following statement on the Senate’s failure to extend three key counterterrorism programs before they expire at midnight:
“The need for investigators to collect intelligence on known or suspected terrorists can’t be overstated. Our national security—not to mention the safety of all Americans—is at stake.
“That’s why it’s so irresponsible for one senator to prevent action to extend and reform three key counterterrorism tools for his own political gain. Holding critical national security programs hostage to raise political donations is outrageous, but that’s where we stand today.
“Let me be clear about what’s at stake: Three important programs that are used to identify and track terrorists will expire at midnight.
“The lone wolf provision allows the government to collect intelligence on known or suspected terrorists for whom the government cannot yet demonstrate an affiliation with a specific terrorist group. That authority will expire.
“The roving wiretap provision allows investigators to collect data on an individual rather than a specific telephone or email address. In this era of disposable cell phones, this is a key tool for counterterrorism investigations. That authority will expire.
“The business records provision allows investigators to access not only who terrorists talk to on the telephone, but also key information about their activities including their hotel and rental car records and credit card statements, all key tools to prevent terrorist attacks. That authority will expire.
“At a time when the threat of terrorist attacks at home and abroad is higher than ever, it’s unconscionable that these national security tools can no longer be used, particularly since the reason is to advance the political ambitions of one person.
“It’s also unfortunate that legislation to extend these authorities was left to the last minute. The June 1 deadline has been looming for months, and the ability to reauthorize the provisions was put in jeopardy by delay.
“I’ll continue to work with my colleagues to reform these programs in order to protect Americans’ privacy and safety, and it’s my hope the Senate will pass this legislation as soon as possible this week and reauthorize these important provisions.”