WASHINGTON — The Senate failed today by two votes to expand the FBI’s warrantless surveillance powers under the USA PATRIOT Act. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) could call for a second vote to pass the proposed amendment.
The amendment would allow the FBI to collect sensitive electronic information, including the browsing history, IP addresses, and email metadata of Americans without a court order. It would also make permanent the “lone wolf” provision, which has reportedly never been used and allows the government to obtain secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act orders for individuals who are not connected to an international terrorist group or foreign nation.
Karin Johanson, American Civil Liberties Union national political director, had the following reaction:
“The Senate should not respond to the massacre in Orlando by voting to gut Americans’ privacy protections and expand provisions of the Patriot Act that have consistently been abused by the government. The McCain amendment would allow the FBI to collect Americans’ most sensitive information – including the websites they visit and addresses they email – without a court order. We urge the Senate to abandon this misguided effort.”
More information can be found here: https://www.aclu.org/blog/washington-markup/congress-seeks-expand-warrantless-surveillance-under-patriot-act