WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) today announced she has cosponsored Senator Tom Cotton’s (R-AR) Liberty Through Strength Act II, requiring the Obama Administration to keep all records of terrorist communications and grant congressional authorization of counterterrorism tools that are critical to the safety and security of our homeland.

This legislation comes in response to the expiration of the NSA’s terrorist data collection program on December 1, 2015, as mandated by the USA Freedom Act that was signed into law earlier this year. Senator Ernst opposed the USA Freedom Act in June and emphasized her “serious concerns over delegating responsibility solely to telephone companies. The USA Freedom Act fails to detail how long telephone companies are required to keep metadata records, and there are uncertainties about process delays in the transfer of information from telecom to the federal government.”

As Fox News recently reported, “The National Security Agency’s sweeping authority to collect phone-record data expired Sunday, despite evidence that such programs helped European officials track down the perpetrators of the recent Paris suicide bombing attacks and prevented other attacks.”

Senator Ernst released the following statement:

“Recent events are a stark reminder that America faces some of the most complex security challenges in more than a generation. At this critical time, we cannot afford the potential for systematic and long-term gaps in our intelligence gathering. The USA FREEDOM Act alters our counterterrorism approach and opens the door to a false sense of security, undercutting protections previously put in place to preserve the security of the American people. In light of the continuous ISIS threats, the Liberty Through Strength Act II would provide additional security for Iowans from potential terrorist attacks on our homeland.

“Now is not the time to impose unnecessary roadblocks within our counterterrorism approach. It is vital that our intelligence community has tools at their disposal to find terrorists and stave off potential attacks on our homeland.

“The risks are simply too high to move ahead with this untested approach without first certifying there is no impact on our current operations. My top priority is the safety and security of each and every American. We can and must do better for families in Iowa and nationwide.”

Last month, Senator Ernst cosponsored the original Liberty Through Strength Act, which was introduced by Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) to postpone the USA FREEDOM Act’s end of the NSA’s terrorist metadata collection program.

Click here to read the text of the Liberty Through Strength Act II.

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