ROMNEY VISION: The Intelligence Gathering Capabilities To Keep America Safe

"When Al Qaeda calls into America, we should be listening. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama voted against this common-sense foreign intelligence tool. They are dangerously out of touch when it comes to defending the homeland. Our most basic civil liberty is the right to be kept alive. We must use every reasonable measure to keep America safe." – Gov. Mitt Romney


Gov. Romney Understands We Must Effectively Use Intelligence, Including Wiretapping And Electronic Surveillance, To Prevent Attacks. GOV. MITT ROMNEY: "The key to effective homeland security, in my view, is intelligence, finding the attackers before they attack, gathering and analyzing tips, monitoring suspects, wiretapping, surveillance, all of the tools associated with intelligence work. It's aided measurably by the Patriot Act, perhaps our most effective new tool. It is also dependent on effective delineations of responsibilities between and among federal agencies, across federal and state lines and state and local lines." (Gov. Mitt Romney, Remarks At The National Press Club, Washington, D.C., 7/14/04)

President Bush Praised The Recent Passage Of Legislation Temporarily Modernizing The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: "The Protect America Act, passed with bipartisan support in the House and Senate, achieves both of these goals by modernizing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. … S.1927 reforms FISA by accounting for changes in technology and restoring the statute to its original focus on appropriate protections for the rights of persons in the United States – and not foreign targets located in foreign lands." (President George W. Bush, Statement By The President, 8/5/07)

The White House Has Called For Further Modernization Of FISA And Updates To Many FISA Provisions. "However, as a result of revolutions in telecommunications technology since FISA was passed, FISA now often requires the Government to get a court order to collect information on terrorists and other foreign intelligence targets located overseas. It makes no sense to require the Government to obtain a court order to collect foreign intelligence on foreign targets located in foreign countries. This requirement impairs our intelligence capabilities, and diverts scarce resources that would be better spent safeguarding the civil liberties of Americans, not foreigners who wish to do us harm." (The White House, "Fact Sheet On FISA Modernization," 8/3/07)

  • The Original FISA Does Not Yet Have All Of The Provisions It Needs To Protect The American People. "The legislation’s authors, instead of focusing on just the target of communication, regulated according to its type: radio or wire. As technology advanced from radio to wire, the very foreign communications Congress took pains to exclude from FISA’s purview were swept into it." (Editorial, "FISA Fumbles," National Review , 8/6/07)


Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) And Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) Voted Against Bipartisan Reform Of The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. (S. 1927, CQ Vote #309: Passed 60-28: R 43-0; D 16-27; I 1-1, 8/3/07, Clinton And Obama Voted Nay)

  • Sen. Clinton Was Cheered For Her Vote Against FISA Reform At The Recent YearlyKos Convention. "But that was it when it came to any sort of tense back and forth. By and large Clinton drew praise and applause for her votes -- especially the one she cast against the FISA court last evening. Iraq, surprisingly, was not mentioned by any of the questioners." (Chris Cillizza, "Clinton's Tame Session With The Netroots," The Washington Post 's "The Fix" Blog,, Posted 8/4/07)
  • Sen. Obama Said Wiretapping Is Not Needed To Defeat Terrorism . OBAMA: "That means no more illegal wiretapping of American citizens . . . no more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient. That is not who we are, and it's not what is necessary to defeat the terrorists." (Sen. Barack Obama, Remarks At The Woodrow Wilson Center On Terrorism, Washington, DC, 8/1/07)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Led The Majority Of House Democrats In Voting Against Bipartisan Reform Of FISA. (S. 1927, CQ Vote #836: Passed 227-183: R 186-2; D 41-181, 8/4/07, Pelosi Voted Nay)

  • Speaker Pelosi: Allowing The Wiretapping Of Terrorists "Does Violence To The Constitution Of The United States." (Carl Hulse and Edmund L. Andrews, "House Approves Changes To Surveillance Program," International Herald Tribune , 8/5/07)

Washington Times Editorial: On FISA, Democratic Leadership Takes Its Cues From "Left-Wing Bloggers" And "The Lunatic Fringe." (Editorial, "Reform FISA Now," The Washington Times , 8/2/07)

The FISA Reforms Democrats Fought Against Are Temporary, And More Work Is Needed:

The Legislation Congress Passed Must Be Reviewed In Six Months And Actually Failed To Change Some Fundamental Flaws Critical To U.S. Intelligence Gathering. "[The] bill does not address the fundamental conceptual flaws of the FISA regime, and, although it allows the NSA to intercept foreign-to-foreign calls, it does so only for now, requiring a review after six months." (Editorial, "FISA Fumbles," National Review , 8/6/07)

As The Law Stands, Some Terrorist Communications Could Possibly Slip Through The Cracks. "Foreign-to-foreign communications now travel in diffuse packets of digital data through sophisticated networks, which route them not via the shortest route but via the least-congested terminals. Because American networks are the system’s best, a Peshawar-to-Kabul phone call or e-mail may pass through the United States. This should be a coup for U.S. intelligence. Instead, because of FISA, it has become an obstacle. According to a ruling disclosed by House minority leader John Boehner, the FISA court has suggested that, absent judicial authorization, the NSA may not monitor even a foreign-to-foreign communication if it has passed through U.S. networks." (Editorial, "FISA Fumbles," National Review , 8/6/07)