Press Releases

Press releases are archived according to their release date. For press releases by topic, please see the Issue Positions page.

Washington, D.C.—Senator Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, the senior Republican in the United States Senate, issued the following statement on the Senate’s passage of the USA FREEDOM Act:

“Our terrorist enemies continue to present a clear and present danger to our nation’s safety. We must use a broad array of information-gathering tools to be successful in thwarting their plots and preventing future attacks. As the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee after 9/11, I worked across party lines to give our law enforcement and intelligence communities the authorities they need to keep us safe. Having served longer than any other Republican on the Intelligence Committee, I can personally attest to the critical importance of these authorities in combating real terrorist threats.

“Given the extensive and effective privacy and civil liberties safeguards already in place, I strongly supported a clean reauthorization of the existing law. Unfortunately, such legislation could not gather sufficient support in today's climate of misinformation about our efforts to stay one step ahead of the terrorists. Contrary to the claims of its proponents, the so-called USA FREEDOM Act will hamper our ability to address the terrorist threat. My concerns about this legislation were further enhanced when the Senate voted down several reasonable amendments that represented modest changes needed to preserve our security. Accordingly, I voted against the bill because it will not provide the protections we need and will put the country at risk.”

Senator Hatch served from 1993 to 2005 as Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which oversaw the drafting of the original USA PATRIOT Act. He also served on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence from 1985 to 1991 and again from 1997 to 2011, longer than any other Republican senator.

Senator Hatch offered the following regarding the bulk metadata collection provisions of the bill:

“One of the fundamental flaws of the USA FREEDOM ACT is its creation of unnecessary delays and impediments to our efforts to protect the American people. Under this legislation, telephone metadata—consisting of information like the number calling and the length of the call—would no longer be collected by the government, but instead retained by private communications corporations. Proponents of the bill argue that this move is necessary to protect privacy. This argument is unpersuasive, given that the data collected does not include the identities of the callers or the content of their communications. I oppose this approach because the bill lacks any requirement for these companies to retain this data for any length of time. Without such a requirement, the effectiveness of a search of telephone metadata would obviously be compromised.”  

Senator Hatch offered the following regarding the “amicus curiae” provision of the bill:

“One of the other major flaws of the USA FREEDOM Act is its amicus curiae provision, which would insert a legal advisor into the FISA court process to make arguments to advance privacy and civil liberties. Such an approach threatens to insert left-wing activists into an incredibly sensitive and already well-functioning process, a radical move that would stack the deck against our law enforcement and intelligence communities. Given that previous law already provided intense scrutiny and oversight from the Justice Department, Congress, and the courts, this new provision is both unnecessary and potentially quite dangerous.”