Republican Rep. James Lankford said he wants a “citizen advocate” involved in the process of procuring data through FISA court orders for National Security Agency surveillance practices. Lankford was speaking at a “Tuesday Talk Town Hall” in his district.
“There’s a right way to fix it and a wrong way to fix,” Lankford said in response to a question from a member of the audience about why he didn’t support fellow Republican Rep. Justin Amash’s attempt to curb the NSA’s ability to collect phone data from Americans. “I want to fix it the right way and I want to make sure it’s actually fixed.”
Lankford went on to give examples of ways he would “fix” the NSA’s ability to get phone data on American citizens.
“One of them is: why are we collecting this information? The actual phone companies already have that information, why aren’t we just asking the phone companies to hang onto it and if we have to get a court order to come back to it, that’s no different than what a current court order is now,” Lankford said.
Lankford went on to describe the need for the “citizen advocate” in the process saying “my mom is not a terrorist.”
“There’s also no citizen advocate that’s involved in this process. There’s a FISA court that’s involved in it, that no one has access to other than the intelligence committees. There’s no citizen advocate that represents me. There’s no reason that the government should have my mom’s phone records to be able to pull that and not have someone actually speaking out for my mom, if no one else has access to that. My mom is not a terrorist.”
“That amendment did not fix that,” Lankford conclude before saying the challenge of the process was needing to balance civil liberties with the ability to protect Americans.
The video of Lankford’s remarks has been embedded below.