Russ Feingold Failed to Extend a Vital Intelligence Provision to Target Lone Wolf Terrorists

Published on Friday, July 22, 2016

It seems that each week the international community endures another horrific attack carried out by “lone wolf” terrorists who pledge their support to ISIS. Preventing these attacks is a difficult task since the attackers often live in their targeted country for years and never travel abroad for formal training. With this new type of threat emerging, the United States Senate passed the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. The legislation included a provision which allowed the FBI to conduct surveillance on suspected domestic terrorists who have no ties to any foreign country or entity.

Initially, Russ Feingold voted for the bill and acknowledged its vital role in preventing another massacre of Americans at the hands of a lone wolf terrorist. But two years later, Feingold was the only U.S. Senator to vote against extending the lone wolf terrorist provision of IRTPA, which would effectively prevent the FBI from continuing to monitor suspected lone wolf terrorists operating in the United States. He went on to vote against the provision again in 2009 and 2010.

This epic flip-flop on such an important national security issue highlights Feingold’s refusal to provide the intelligence community with the tools needed to prevent the massacre of Americans at the hands of terrorists. Ironically, in a 2016 interview in Green Bay, Feingold stated, “I think the FBI here in this country, and the law enforcement, is going to need more resources.”[1] That’s an interesting statement given his consistent record of voting against the authorization of those very resources.

[1] CBS Green Bay’s “Newsmaker,” 2/21/16