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On behalf of Americans for Prosperity’s activists in all 50 states, I urge you to vote “YES” in support of H.R. 6570, the Protect Liberty and End Warrantless Surveillance Act, sponsored by Rep. Andy Biggs and to vote “NO” in opposition of H.R. 6611, the FISA Reform and Reauthorization Act of 2023, sponsored by Rep. Turner.
Passed in 2008 by Congress, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act granted the government greater powers to conduct surveillance of suspected foreign terrorists. However, Section 702 has become a go to resource for the government to access Americans’ communications without the proper protections afforded by a warrant, in accordance with the Fourth Amendment.
The FBI conducted up to 200,000 warrantless searches of the communications of American citizens in 2022 alone using the Section 702 database. Recent abuses have included searches of the communications of journalists, donors to campaigns, political protestors, and elected officials, including a sitting Member of Congress.
The Protect Liberty and End Warrantless Surveillance Act would remedy these abuses by including a strong warrant requirement to protect Americans’ private communications while also providing for carefully crafted emergency exceptions to stop imminent threats. It also prohibits the government from purchasing data that existing law would otherwise require a court order if not for the fact that it was obtained by a third-party data broker rather a traditional internet service provider. Finally, it includes important reforms to ensure the FISA Court isn’t merely rubber-stamping requests from the intelligence agencies by expanding the role of amici in raising privacy concerns with the court.
In contrast, the FISA Reform and Reauthorization Act of 2023 represents a massive expansion of the surveillance state by expanding the number of businesses and other entities compelled to turn over communications to intelligence agencies, broadening the scope of foreign intelligence collection, thereby enlarging the amount of Americans’ communications swept into the 702 database, and providing agencies more avenues for accessing the database. The legislation’s so called “reforms” include a mere codification of the ineffective policies the FBI currently has in place regulating the use of information collected under Section 702 and a weak warrant requirement that would only apply to a tiny fraction of queries of Americans’ private communications so as to be negligible. Finally, the bill limits Congressional review by extending Section 702 until 2031, the longest such reauthorization of the program since its inception. Yet the program is clearly in need of more Congressional oversight, not less, as revelations of abuse and calls for reform have only grown in recent years.
This is a powerful spying tool that is ripe for reform to ensure that the government can identify foreign threats while also safeguarding the Fourth Amendment rights of all Americans.
It is for these reasons we urge you to vote “YES” on H.R. 6570, the Protect Liberty and End Warrantless Surveillance Act to vote “NO” on H.R. 6611, the FISA Reform and Reauthorization Act of 2023. These votes may be recorded on our legislative scorecard.
Chief Government Affairs Officer
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