Continued NSA Data Collection Concerns, This Week in West Texas and the Big Country, Honoring MLK

Aug 27, 2013 Issues: National Security, Happening in West Texas, Government Accountability

Continued NSA Data Collection Concerns

Last month, I wrote to you about data collection by the National Security Agency (NSA). I explained then that I believed that the program should be continued.  I based that decision on the information available to me about the program’s privacy protections and its success at stopping terrorist attacks.  Since then, we’ve learned that the NSA has overstepped its legal authority and violated the privacy of American citizens.  While some of these incidents were computer errors, the sheer number of violations indicates a serious lack of oversight at best, and a disregard for the law at worst. 

I know many of you have apprehensions about this data collection, and I pledged to you that I would carefully monitor this program with your concerns in mind.  To this end, I’ve requested a formal briefing on the NSA data collection and surveillance program from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.  In my request, I explained that we deserve a thoughtful and considered decision about this policy, and in order to make that, I need a full accounting of this program. 

I’ve put the letter up on my website so you can read my request for information. I promise you that whether or not this issue is making headlines, I’ll continue working on your behalf to keep our country safe and to protect our Constitutional rights.    


This Week in West Texas and the Big Country

I’m continuing to meet with constituents in Texas this week. This morning, I attended the 108th Opening Chapel at Abilene Christian University.  It was a wonderful, spiritual start to the school year.  I enjoyed seeing so many bright, committed students ready to begin another year of learning. I had lunch with hospital administrators in Abilene to discuss health care concerns and the challenges that we’re facing from Obamacare. This afternoon I visited Dyess Air Force Base to talk about issues affecting our military, our national security, and the Taylor County military and civilian community. On Thursday, Congressman Jeff Miller (R-FL), Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, will visit Lubbock. We’ll meet with VFW members and visit the Lubbock VA outpatient clinic. This is a great chance for us to show Chairman Miller exactly what our West Texas veterans need. On Friday, I’m hosting a Manufacturing Roundtable with the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce. I know that regulations from Washington are making it harder to do business, and I want to get feedback from local producers on what they need to succeed.  Next week I’ll be hosting two more Town Hall Listening Sessions, and you’re all invited.  Come see me in Big Spring on September 3rd, and in Muleshoe on September 5th


Action Item: Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King’s Dream

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s I Have a Dream speech. I like to listen to a recording of this speech every year to remind me of the unifying, peaceful ideas that Dr. King proclaimed. If you haven’t heard the speech, I encourage you to listen—while the written word is powerful, it’s even more moving to hear Dr. King’s message in his own voice. I’ll be celebrating the anniversary of this speech in Lubbock, with a march to honor Dr. King. We’ll begin at 6:30 p.m. at Estacado High School and end the march at 4th Street and MLK Boulevard. I hope to see you there.