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Occurrences in the Congressional Record

Entry Title Date
Honoring Riley Franks March 25, 2015
Pete Olson, R-TX
"About fourteen years ago, the United States never expected something like this to happen but on September 11, 2001, terrorism took a big turn. A series of four coordinated terrorist attacks by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda were set into play in New York City and the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. Two passenger airplanes were hijacked and crashed into the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center; another was crashed into the Pentagon which caused a partial collapse of the western side, and the fourth plane was targeted at Washington D.C. but crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania after some of the passengers tried to overcome the hijackers. A total 2,996 citizens died that day and was the deadliest incident for firefighters and law enforcement officers ever. This day has changed America for the better and the worse in these four major lasting impacts: more than a decade of war, immigration and deportation, the skies, and an increase in surveillance. Just a few weeks after the 9/11 event, the United States invaded Afghanistan to try and dismantle al-Qaeda and stop the terrorist group. Then two years later we attacked Iraq as a part of the War on Terror. Today, the U.S. is still entangled with Afghanistan and this War on Terror is now the longest-running war in U.S. history. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency was established because of this tragic event. This agency was put into place to help deport criminals and stop those from coming into the U.S. illegally. In the decade after 9/11, deportations nearly doubled and in the first two years of the Obama Administration deportations hit a record high of 400,000 annually. Airport security took a turn for the better. Although the lines and security rules to get to your gate are outrageous, the skies have never been safer. Before all of these color- coded security threat warnings and fancy full body metal detectors and x-rays, pat downs were very uncommon, liquid was allowed, and passengers were even allowed to have knives, box cutters, and cigarette lighters on board. Finally, as a country, the U.S. boomed as a surveillance state after 9/11. This resulted in an increase of government intrusion of phone and web networks. By 2013, the United States had enacted 16 spy agencies and more than 107,000 employees that now make up the U.S. intelligence community. Therefore, after 9/11 the United States has improved in a lot of ways mainly in security and there can only be improvement from here on out and hopefully the U.S. will never have to go through another tragic event such as this."
Tribute To Grant Dentry March 24, 2015
Pete Olson, R-TX
"An important event that has occurred in the past 15 years is the rapid evolution of technology in our everyday lives. From single function cell-phones, to compact flip phones with cameras, to the now pervasive “smart phone” that serves as a multi-function computer, phone, hi-resolution camera, personal assistant, and a comprehensive tracking device. I believe technology; although innovative and fun, can have a negative effect on our country. While technology has benefited our lives, its evolution has changed how America operates and is watched over. Even though technological evolution has made our lives easier, it can expose our personal and private business to the Government (and hackers) who can access our information at will. The evolution of technology has reshaped the security of American citizens. Our Constitutional freedoms as Americans have been infringed upon because of our technological devices do not guarantee secure privacy. Now that almost everyone in America has a laptop or cellphone, the Government is able to conduct surveillance on its citizens. Constantly being watched over has had unfortunate effects on what we consider personal, private, freedom. The effect of being watched over has caused citizens to be constantly vigilant of what they are doing on electronic devices, where they go, and what they say. The Government is able to read our text messages and listen to our calls as well as see us through cameras on streets, smartphones and computers. Although we are still technically free, it is not the freedom we used to have before technology evolved. Fifteen years ago, concerns about Government surveillance on citizens was not as alarming as today. The next 15 years will bring changes in the relationship between Governments and their citizens. While many found out in 2012 about Government surveillance, more and more Americans are becoming increasingly concerned about the issue of privacy now. Sadly, our media is distracting our citizens away from privacy issues. Many disapprove of the spying and frown upon the Government’s decisions to monitor U.S. citizens. Since 9/11, security has been stepped up (rightfully so), but it has been taken to a level almost comparable to George Orwell ‘s Nineteen Eighty-Four in which everything is closely monitored and scrutinized. Overall, the surveillance technology revolution has changed our country drastically and has brought concern and worry to many American citizens. Monitoring citizens was not the intent when surveillance technology first developed, but now it has the potential for large scale abuse. While technology has benefited our lives in many ways, it has also changed how America operates, how we are kept safe, and how we view our Constitutional freedoms and our privacy. Hopefully, the next 15 years will bring us towards a balance between security, safety, and privacy."
Benjamin P. Grogan And Jerry L. Dove Federal Bureau Of Investigation Miami Field Office March 24, 2015
Carlos Curbelo, R-FL
"FBI Special Agents Jerry Dove and Benjamin P. Grogan were killed in 1986 during a gun battle with robbery suspects. Special Agents Dove and Grogan had been a part of a surveillance effort in connection with a series of violent bank robberies in Miami, Florida."
America’S Military Strength March 16, 2015
Tom Cotton, R-AR
"Similarly, the Air Force is less than one-third of its size 25 years ago. Moreover, the Air Force depends upon modernization to preserve its technological edge, perhaps more than any other service, but current funding levels could require cancellation of airborne-refueling tankers and surveillance aircraft, set back fighter and nuclear weapons modernization, and shorten the life of tactical airlift and weapons recovery programs."
Providing For Congressional Disapproval Of A Rule Submitted By The National Labor Relations Board March 3, 2015
Richard Durbin, D-IL
"The regional director at the NLRB ruled in favor of the union’s position and ordered an election held 82 days after the petition was filed in which more than a majority of the workers said they wanted an election. Eighty-two days later they actually got an election. During that time the employer hired two anti-union consultants to wage an anti-union campaign that included threats and interrogation and even the installation of a video surveillance system to monitor employees at all times throughout the workplace. Pro-union workers saw their hours cut, while non-union workers were given all the overtime they wanted. Worst of all, the employer terminated or laid off six employees in what they believe was retaliation."

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