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of different kinds from one point to another on a different channel will not change the balance that this Congress struck in 1968.
I appreciate the chance to appear.
Incidentally, I will include in the record a letter in support of new legislation from the National Sheriffs' Association and another one from the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association. [The letters follow:]
NATIONAL SHERIFF'S ASSOCIATION,
Alexandria, VA, March 15, 1994. Hon. DON EDWARDS, Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights, Washington, DC.
DEAR CONGRESSMAN EDWARDS: On behalf of the 22,000 members of the National Sheriffs' (NSA), I am writing in support of proposed legislation that would preserve lawful telecommunications interceptions. As always, NŠA is prepared to support legislation in the best interest of law enforcement and the public.
For your information, I have enclosed a copy of our resolution in support of digital telephony legislation. I would be most grateful if you would keep me informed.
Thank you for your endeavors and support of the nation's law enforcement community. Sincerely,
CHARLES “BUD" MEEKS,
te sheriffs are the chie? law enforcement orriciols of their countles/cities ard are dedicated to protecting and serving their constituents with increasingiy greaier denanda to combat crime; and
WHEREAB, court-authorized electronic survellianco 18 i ejor
investigative tool used by tedaral, etote, and locsl law enforcement; and
VEEREAS, advances in the telecommunications industry ore impeding
the ability of law enforcement to effectivel; impiament interception orders; and
the National Sharifts' Asoociation supports proposed logislation that would yruse.i's lawful telicommunicatiotie interceptions therefors maintaining the statua quc; and
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the National sheriris' Association
urges the United States Congress to immediately enact legislation proposed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation which would clarify the duty of telecommunications providers to ensure the ability of law enforconent to ottoctively continue to administer courtauthorized intercepts.
adopted at a meeting of the nembership
FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS ASSOCIATION,
New York, NY, March 17, 1994. Hon. PATRICK J. LEAHY, Subcommittee on the Technology and the Law, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
DEAR SENATOR LEAHY: On behalf of the over 8,000 men and woman of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, I urge you to support the proposed legislation entitled the “Digital Telephony and Communications Privacy Improvement Act of 1994."
FLEOA recognizes that the privacy of all Americans is of the utmost importance and needs to be protected. Part of that protection is the responsibility of law enforcement, to ensure the safety and security of our communities. To accomplish this, law enforcement needs the ability to thoroughly investigate the criminal activities of those that threaten our nation's domestic and national security.
The current communications technology being developed must provide for warranted interception by law enforcement. To do otherwise would be inviting disaster. In a perfect world all of this would not be necessary. Unfortunately, terrorism and violent criminal gang activity is increasing:
Court authorized electronic monitoring by law enforcementis essential in the investigation of such crimes. The proposed legislation ensures that those providing electronic communication systems will have the technicalassistance necessary to accomplish court-authorized interception by law enforcement. The legislation would also establish the same ground rules throughout the industry that in turn would ensure competitive fairness between the providers.
Both law enforcement and the intelligence community have the responsibility for the safety and security of our nation. The providers of electronic communication systems should also bear a responsibility, to make available their systems for courtauthorized interceptions. FLEOA urges the adoption and passage by Congress of the Digital Telephony and Communications Privacy Improvement Act of 1994. Yours truly,
[The prepared statement of Mr. O'Malley follows:] PREPARED STATEMENT OF HON. WILLIAM C. O'MALLEY ON BEHALF OF THE NATIONAL
DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S ASSOCIATION On behalf of this country's elected prosecutors, I wish to thank you for this opportunity to voice our support for the Administration's proposed Digital Telephony and Communications Privacy Improvement
Act of 1994. I am Bill O'Malley, District Attorney for Plymouth County, Massachusetts and have served the people of my county for 13 years. In addition I am proud to serve as the President of the National District Attorneys Association and am here to provide you with the views of that 7000 member organization.
In July 1992, the Board of Directors of our Association unanimously passed a resolution supporting legislation to assure that our law enforcement agencies retained the capability to perform court-authorized electronic surveillance in light of the emerging digital technologies. I am here to assure you that our members, elected to be in the forefront in our war against crime and terrorism, strongly adhere to our original resolution and its articulation in this Act.
Our national consciousness is evermore occupied by crime and its tragic aftermath. Poll-after-poll, survey-after-survey, reflect the fears and frustrations of the citizens who elected all of us to office. Now, you have the opportunity to either help answer those fears and frustrations or to add to them. If the law enforcement community does not have the opportunity to keep pace with advanced telecommunication technologies then the criminals who do have access to this technology will operate with impunity.
We are all continually amazed with the almost daily announcement of technological advances. As Americans, we proudly hail the work of our scientists. The "information highway” is more than a cliche and is rapidly becoming the thread from which the fabric of our nation is woven. Having been a leader in using automation in my office I can assure you that the law enforcement and legal communities are and, will continue to be, a part of that enterprise. We simply ask that our scientists and engineers put their enormous talents to work in assuring that law enforcement
is not left blindfolded. We support a legislative solution that requires the telecommunications industry to meet law enforcement's needs, but that relies upon the industry to decide the most efficient and cost effective approach.
The debate about the need for electronic surveillance in fighting crime has already taken place. The federal government and most state governments have resolved that, in certain cases, and as a last resort, law enforcement may seek an impartial court order to perform limited electronic surveillance. District attorneys support this cautious, restrictive approach. The problems raised by new technologies should not be used as a gambit by opponents of electronic surveillance to reopen this debate. Further, claims by these critics that prosecutors seek increased use of electronic surveillance are simply not true. Let me make it clear that your district attorneys seek nothing more than to preserve the surveillance capability that you, and most state legislatures, have already authorized. We are not asking for help to do any additional wiretaps or pen registers. We are asking only to preserve what Congress and our state legislatures have determined is a critical tool in fighting crime.
This issue is particularly crucial to those of us fighting crime at the local level. Some 60 percent of all authorized criminal wiretap orders are done by state and community law enforcement agencies. Let me hasten to add that the image of a policeman attaching alligator chips to telephone wires to affect a surveillance in as outmoded as the tin-can phones of our youth. Electronic surveillance is a sophisticated, complicated operation not entered into lightly by law enforcement. I would note that in addition to the requirement for a court order based on probable cause, most local jurisdictions have imposed further administrative requirements to preclude abuse of the surveillance. Finally the very industry whose help we seek today serves as a protective balance. I can assure you that local law enforcement does not have the capability to directly intercept telephonic communications and that the telecommunication industry will not provide the requested technical existence in the absence of a court order.
We, as prosecutors can provide many cases to illustrate how critical your support for the Act is and will continue to be. At the local level the ability to conduct electronic surveillance has allowed the successful conviction of drug traffickers who poison our youth, of corrupt public officials to include sitting judges and police officers and RICO cases involving prostitution and money laundering. The issue is often literally life or death. Electronic surveillance is rarely used and is typically used only as a last resort in difficult cases. Judges authorize surveillance only under exacting standards reinforced by rigid and demanding local rules of accountability. But let me assure you that when electronic surveillance is necessary the need is vital.
Criminals who victimize us as a nation have access to and do not hesitate to use, the latest in technology. We, as both citizens and as those who work in the daily fight against crime, urge you not to further handicap our police forces. We strongly encourage the enactment of this comprehensive legislation. Anything short of this approach cannot guarantee our ability to effectively enforce the laws of our nation or our ability to protect our citizens.
Senator LEAHY. Thank you.