U.S. Senator Tom Udall issued the following statement responding to the president’s proposed reforms of government surveillance programs:
“The reforms outlined by President Obama today are a welcome first step in reining in the government’s unacceptable infringement on Americans’ privacy rights. But I’m not satisfied these reforms go far enough. Congress must pass legislation to comprehensively reform our surveillance programs and the secret courts created under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. I have sponsored legislation to achieve these goals and will continue to push for Congress to act. Americans’ confidence in the government’s commitment to protecting our privacy rights has understandably been shaken. I know we can protect our security and our constitutional rights, but we need two things for true reform: independent oversight and open debate.
“In June, I asked for an independent review by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board on the impact of the NSA’s spying program on Americans’ constitutional rights and civil liberties. The board has conducted a thorough review and will publicly release its first report with recommendations for reform next week. As chairman of the appropriations subcommittee that funds the board, I also worked to ensure that the board is fully funded in the appropriations bill passed this week. I will continue to support the board’s important mission to ensure that there is ongoing oversight of the government’s surveillance activities.”