July 23, 2013, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens today issued the following statement urging members of the House of Representatives to adopt an amendment offered by Michigan Republican Rep. Justin Amash to the 2014 Defense Appropriations Act that would defund FBI and NSA domestic surveillance to collect communications data “if such things do not pertain to a person who is the subject of an investigation”:
“The amendment offered by Amash will defund domestic surveillance under the Patriot Act. We urge its adoption by House members of both political parties. Nobody’s records should be collected unless there is specific investigation into that person taking place for crimes that have been committed and a lawful warrant has been issued by a judge upon probable cause.
“It is time that members of Congress weigh in on and reject this ubiquitous surveillance state that is being built. For more than ten years, this program has operated in secret without any explicit congressional authorization. After top secret court orders revealed that the FBI and NSA were collecting intelligence broadly on every single person in the country, many members of Congress claimed they had no idea just how pervasive the surveillance really was. This is information about everyone, not just those who are suspected of crimes. That is not what the Fourth Amendment says.
“Now members have an opportunity to rein this in before it is too late. They can no longer hide behind the veil of secrecy. This is an up or down vote on whether Congress will allow the FBI and NSA to operate an omniscient secret police or not. The American people cannot afford for members to get this one wrong. No less than the liberty of every single American is at stake.”
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