Sheila Jackson Lee CISPA amendment gives Homeland Security power to spy on Americans

April 25, 2012, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson issued the following statement on an amendment offered by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee to the “Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Privacy Act” (CISPA) that would authorize the Secretary of Homeland Security “to acquire, intercept, retain, use, and disclose communications and other system traffic that are transiting to or from or stored on Federal systems:”

“Any reasonable person should see the amendment proposed by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee as far-reaching and Orwellian. The Jackson Lee amendment to CISPA is the purest expression of totalitarianism ever proposed in the halls of Congress. It is breathtaking the speed with which the police state is being advanced in this legislation.

“This sweeping amendment by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee would allow the Department of Homeland Security Secretary, a political appointee, to monitor the nation’s entire digital infrastructure. There are no communications that do not ‘transit to’ or through existing Federal systems including those run by the FCC, and based on recent disclosures by NSA whistleblower William Binney, there are no communications that are not ‘stored on’ Federal systems in some way.

“That means every communication in the world would be accessible by the Secretary of Homeland Security. And since it also includes all communications on Federal systems, that would include all congressional correspondence, all congressional inquiries into anything, all internal White House communications, all sealed federal court documents, all military communications, and all intelligence gathering in the world. In short, all of the most sensitive top secret and privileged information would funnel to a politically appointed official who may be tempted to misuse it.

“The Secretary need only certify that acquiring the information is necessary to counter cyber security threats. Since the Secretary will have no way of knowing which information will be relevant to that purpose until the data is filtered and analyzed, she will have to acquire it all in the process.

“Once acquired, the amendment even allows the information to be used beyond the purview of protecting national security or against cyber threats. Under Jackson Lee’s amendment, ‘information obtained pursuant to activities authorized under this subsection will … be retained, used, or disclosed… with the approval of the Attorney General, for law enforcement purposes when the information is evidence of a crime which has been, is being, or is about to be committed.’ Suddenly, the nation’s vast intelligence and military infrastructure will be at the fingertips of the Department of Justice to be used for targeted, malicious, political prosecutions.”


“Cyber intelligence sharing vote raises broader constitutional questions,” ALG President Bill Wilson, April 25, 2012 at

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