House Reauthorizes Unconstitutional Surveillance Law
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WASHINGTON – The House today passed a reauthorization of an unconstitutional domestic spying bill that violates the Fourth Amendment and gives vast, unchecked surveillance authority to the government. The FISA Amendments Act, originally passed in 2008, authorizes the National Security Agency to conduct dragnet surveillance of Americans’ international emails and phone calls.
The Senate is expected to take up the law’s reauthorization later this year. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) has put a hold on the bill citing privacy and transparency concerns.
“Yet again, the House has rubberstamped a law so broad and vague that, despite its passage four years ago, we still have little idea how the government is using it,” said Michelle Richardson, ACLU legislative counsel. “It is at the very heart of the Fourth Amendment that Americans and their communications are fiercely protected from government intrusion. This law should be amended to include much stronger privacy protections when the Senate takes it up later this year.”
On October 29, the Supreme Court will hear the ACLU’s challenge to the constitutionality of the law. The plaintiffs include human rights, media and legal organizations. The government claims that the plaintiffs should not be able to sue without first showing that their own communications have been or will be monitored under the statute – information that the government refuses to provide.
For more information about the ACLU’s legal challenge the FAA, go to http://www.aclu.org/national-security/amnesty-et-al-v-clapper