As a former member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), I have, and will continue to, keep an eye on the formulation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) intelligence gathering policy. I have seen the dramatic expansion of intelligence gathering powers over the years, as facilitated by the passage of the PATRIOT Act and other policies of the Justice Department under the direction of former Attorney General John Ashcroft. Serious questions have been raised by these practices about government infringement on the right to privacy.
Republicans in the House of Representatives have sought to claim a wide range of new powers over both immigrants and citizens. The system of checks and balances that has kept our country at the forefront of governmental efficiency must also be applied to congressional oversight of intelligence activities. Thus, we can ensure that the principals on which our country was founded remain respected. We must strike a balance between refusing to compromise individuals' civil rights and liberties and ensuring the safety of our country's security.
In that respect, I have led the charge to improve communication between federal intelligence agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). It is of utmost importance that the intelligence community establishes a uniform, multi-level security clearance system so that the cultural and linguistic knowledge of these experts can be fully leveraged.
I have also been actively engaged in promoting the Sensible, Multilateral American Response to Terrorism (SMART) security platform for the 21st century. This platform seeks to prevent future acts of terrorism by strengthening international institutions and respect for the rule of law, reducing the threat and stopping the spread of weapons of mass destruction and reducing the proliferation of conventional weapons. This platform attempts to address the root causes of terrorism and violent conflict shifts as part of the United States' budget priorities in order to more effectively meet the country's security needs and pursue alternatives to war to the fullest extent possible.
America's security depends on real time and reliable intelligence. I am committed to achieving just that.