Washington, DC: The FBI Agents Association (FBIAA), representing over 14,000 FBI Special Agents nationwide, today urged Congress to act on the expiring Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) provisions, which provide critical tools for some of the nation’s most sensitive ongoing and future investigations.
“It is time for Congress and the Administration to work together to reauthorize the expiring FISA provisions. These provisions have widespread bipartisan support and are critical to our work protecting the nation,” said Brian O’Hare, President of the FBI Agents Association (FBIAA).
Ongoing negotiations among federal officials appear to have stalled in the face of a false choice between reauthorization and reform.
“Congress can do both: reauthorize the expiring FISA provisions and undertake meaningful FISA reform efforts,” said O’Hare. “We look forward to actively participating in a fulsome reform process, but we urge Congress to first reauthorize the expiring provisions. Letting them lapse puts active investigations in peril and adds additional risks to already difficult and complex investigations.”
FBI Special Agents in every field office across the country responsibly use tools provided by FISA in sensitive counterintelligence, counterterrorism, and counterproliferation investigations.
One Special Agent who conducts counterterrorism investigations explained the critical importance of the expiring FISA provisions:
“Sophisticated techniques like roving wiretaps and the ability to access business records are instrumental to how I do my work. We use them to help thwart attacks by foreign terrorist organizations and home-grown violent extremists. I think that our work, supported by these tools, has helped save lives. Our partners in state and local law enforcement depend on the FBI and our techniques as well. I am concerned that losing them would make it harder for us to do our jobs and would make our country less safe.”
“We urge Congress and the Administration to work together to reauthorize the expiring FISA provisions before March 15, 2020,” concluded O’Hare.