Press Releases

For Immediate Release: February 20, 2008

New York City Firefighters Call for Modernization of FISA Act in House of Representatives

Leaders of New York City's Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) called upon the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives to modernize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), saying that the safety of millions of New Yorkers and 9,000 New York City Firefighters are being jeopardized.

On February 12, 2008 the U.S. Senate passed S.2248 the FISA Amendments Act of 2007 to modernize and streamline the provisions of the FISA law, sponsored by Senator John D. Rockefeller (D, West Virginia) by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 68-29. The House leadership is now refusing to bring this bipartisan legislation to the floor for a vote.

Citing two terrorist attacks upon New York City in 1993 and 2001, UFA President Steve Cassidy said that the House of Representatives leadership has a legal and moral responsibility to protect American citizens and first responders.

In the 1970's, FISA was established to govern how the United States gathers intelligence on potential threats to our national security. The means by which the world communicates, and thus intercepts critical intelligence information, are no longer compatible with outmoded 1970's methods.

"Today, both our allies and enemies use cell phones, the Internet, satellite communications and other sophisticated emerging technologies," said Mr. Cassidy. "In this age of information, the House leadership cannot allow this valuable tool to fight terrorism to be rendered null and void. Inaction is unacceptable to first responders and their families, because it is our lives that are put in jeopardy. The House leadership must find a way to effectively permit private citizens and even companies to assist law enforcement in preventing attacks on our citizenry."

"Twice New York City Firefighters responded to attacks on our nation by enemies of America, and we want our government to take every step necessary to intercept communications that will prevent future terrorist attacks. On behalf of our firefighters, I urge the House leadership to vote on the FISA Amendments Act of 2007 proposed by Senator John D. Rockefeller and avoid the permanent damage that may occur from expiration of the Act."