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tv   Today in Washington  CSPAN  September 19, 2009 2:00am-6:00am EDT

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attacks would have occurred. we now know enough about many of these terrorist organizations that wish us harm that we are stopping them with far less information than was available back on 9/11, 2001 so i think that we are doing a better job than we were then and had been in existence then come of we
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i want to say to rush the photographers, if i do this wrong i hear about it at family gatherings. and the photographers understand what i'm talking about. today we hold our second hearing in this congress on oversight of the federal bureau of investigation. of course, we welcome the director robert mueller back to
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the committee. as senator sessions and i were saying to director mueller just before we started, there is a briefing under way on afghanistan. that's why a number of senators have to be gone. others may be delighted to be here. i see senator grassley, my old friend of decades here, probably would rather be here than finance these days. but i appreciate director mueller's continued dedication to work with congress to ensure the fbi can effectively pursue its critical missions of law enforcement and national security while maintain the values and freedoms that define us as americans. last month they announced a heightened role for the fbi with a formation of a high-value detainee interrogation group.
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that interrogate the most dangerous and high value terror suspects. the group ran together experienced professional interrogators, analysts, subject matter, expert, linguists from across the intelligence community, law enforcement community, department of defense. it's going to be housed within the fbi. i talked with attorney general holder about this. i understand the internal debates that went on on this matter. the hig is being created to approve the ability of the united states ability to interrogate dangerous terrorists effectively and do it not only within the to be consistent with our law but to make american values different than other countries. i think it is a welcomed signal that the administration has chosen to house hbi.
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without resorting to extreme methods that violate our laws and make us safer. in march when the director was before us, i noted his important statement last year commemorating the 100th anniversary of the fbi. in fact, i had a copy of that and put it in the congressional record. the director says it's not enough to stop the terrorists, we have to stop while maintaining civil liberties. it's not enough to catch a criminal, we must catch him while respecting his civil rights. it is not enough to prevent foreign countries from stealing our secrets, we must prevent that from happening while upholding the rule of law. the rule of law, civil liberties and civil rights, these are not our burdens, they are what make us better. they are what made us better for the past 100 years. i agree with them. the committee is soon going to turn to discussion expiring provisions of the usa patriot
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act, what needs to be done in that regard. during the past few years, audit provisions including the previous patriot act statute brought to light misuse of certain tools provided by the patriot act. for example, national security letters allow the government to collect sensitive information such as personal financial records. this congress expanded the nsl authority of recent years. i raised concerns about how the fbi handles the information it collects on americans. i know with no real limits imposed by congress, the fbi could store this information electronically and use it for large-scale data-mining operations. we know that the nsl authority was significantly misused. in 2008, the department of justice inspector general issued a report on the fbi's use of nsl's revealing serious overcollection of information. it closely tracked the use of
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section 215 of the original patriot's act which addresses order for business records. the greater oversight of this section is required, including broader access to judicial review of the nondisclosure orders that are so often issued with section 215 demands for records. finally, i raised concerns over the misuse of exogent letters to maintain phone records of including reporters without warrant, without emergency conditions and without a follow-up legal process. director mueller assured us appropriate steps have been taken to prevent a repeat of that abuse. he's helped to address concerns of records illegal le obtained, but these letters may have been inappropriately retained by the government. i'm hoping you would agree as we consider the re-authorization of expiring

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