Washington, DC – The ACLU released a blueprint for the ongoing legislative battle over the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act today. Director of the Washington Legislative Office Caroline Fredrickson said, “If lawmakers feel compelled to permanently amend FISA, Congress must ensure the legislation restores judicial review and protects the privacy rights of innocent Americans.”
Without congressional reauthorization, the inappropriately named “Protect America Act,” will expire in February, and the Democratic leadership has promised to revisit this unconstitutional law. The ACLU insists if any legislation is passed it should adhere to the following basic blueprint:
By following this basic blueprint, lawmakers will protect the privacy rights of innocent Americans and ensure that the law adheres to the Fourth Amendment. Americans have had their phone calls and records illegally released to the government. “If Congress swoops in now to stop the telecoms from being held accountable for their illegal actions, companies will have no reason to follow the law in the future,” said Fredrickson.
The new law passed this summer, allows the government to intercept – without a court order – the calls and emails of Americans who are communicating with people in other countries. Congress passed this law even though the White House still refuses to comply with congressional subpoenas seeking information about the NSA wiretapping program. We still don’t know how many Americans have been spied on or what is being done with the information that is collected.
“The ACLU believes that our nation’s surveillance laws can effectively target terrorists without jeopardizing the rights of innocent Americans. We look forward to working with Congress to make certain America remains both safe and free,” said ACLU Senior Legislative Counsel Tim Sparapani.