Himes: Government surveillance efforts must balance rights and security

Congressman Jim Himes, who represents most of Shelton, said Thursday he remains “concerned about the breadth and depth of our nation’s surveillance programs and the quality and comprehensiveness of the oversight of the intelligence community.”

Himes, a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, made the statement in advance of President Barack Obama’s speech on intelligence reforms planned for Friday.

The three-term Democrat said he is “pleased” the president will address the country on the issue, focusing “on how we adequately might best balance constitutional rights with our national security.”

Wants to ‘scale back’ existing programs

“I am eager to hear President Obama’s plans to address these key issues and urge him to (1) lay out a plan to scale back existing data collection programs; (2) establish a public advocate for the FISA Court system; and, (3) create clearer reporting and transparency requirements between the intelligence community and Congress so that we can perform our oversight role adequately.

“These three issues, which I have worked to advance through legislation, must be a fundamental part of any effective intelligence reform,” he said.

Shelton is in two congressional districts

The city of Shelton is divided between two congressional districts.

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes lives in Greenwich and was first elected to Congress in 2008. He represents the Fourth District, which includes most of Fairfield County.

U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro lives in New Haven and was first elected to Congress in 1990. Also a Democrat, she represents the Third District, which is centered in New Haven County.