Poe/Lofgren's USA Rights Act Offered as Amendment to Protect Americans' Fourth Amendment Rights
by Ted Poe on January 11, 2018 at 4:46 PM
Wednesday, I released the following statement regarding the USA Rights Act, which was offered as an amendment to S. 139 – the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017. In October, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and I introduced the USA Rights Act to reform this sweeping, secretive government spying program authorized under FISA, specifically Section 702. Today, we expect the bill, introduced as an amendment by Congressman Justin Amash (R-MI), to be debated on the House floor.
Tomorrow, Congress will vote to determine whether they support continued warrantless surveillance of American citizens when the House considers reauthorization of FISA. Make no mistake - this flawed reauthorization bill contains virtually no reforms, violates Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights, and approves warrantless surveillance of our very own citizens. My legislation, the USA Rights Act, will be introduced as an amendment, and equips our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with tools needed to go after terrorists and criminals, while closing the backdoor for warrantless searches of Americans. After years of pushing for a warrant requirement for FISA – Section 702 data and standing for Americans privacy, I am pleased to see this brought to the floor for a full vote by the House of Representatives, and I urge my colleagues to stand up for individual liberty.
The USA Rights Act reforms Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to end warrantless backdoor searches of Americans' calls, emails, texts and other communications that are routinely swept up under a program designed to spy on foreign targets. This sweeping authority has been clouded in secrecy, in part because the government refuses to answer essential questions about how it impacts Americans, including who can be targeted and how many American communications the government collects. Despite arguments to the contrary, the USA Rights Act allows the 702 program to continue to be used to target terrorists and agents of a foreign power without a warrant, it simply adds a clear warrant requirement when we search this data on US Persons.