ALG urges House to support USA Rights Act amendments to FISA reauthorization to end warrantless mass surveillance

Jan. 11, 2018, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Vice President of Public Policy Robert Romano today issued the following statement urging the House to support an amendment by U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), “The USA Rights Act,” an amendment to the FISA reauthorization bill:

“The USA Rights Act will end warrantless mass surveillance of U.S. persons that was revealed by the Edward Snowden disclosures and restore Fourth Amendment protections for the American people. If the USA Rights Act had been law, it would have prohibited most of the abuses that have been observed in the 2016 election campaign with federal surveillance of the opposition party, and then the subsequent use of communications from U.S. persons that were eventually leaked to U.S. media outlets. It would restrict the use of communications to only for national security matters, and those involving U.S. persons would have to clearly be linked to a crime being committed.

“While it is heartening that President Trump is already taking steps to rein in some of these past abuses by national security and law enforcement agencies, the American people should not have to depend on the benevolence of our rulers to protect the Constitution. We are a nation of laws, and these abuses will happen again if they are not clearly prohibited. So far, nobody has been prosecuted for the surveillance abuses that occurred in 2016. The USA Rights Act will help restore the protection of constitutional rights, the rule of law and public confidence in our national security institutions by clearly outlining the permissible parameters for intelligence gathering. This political surveillance must never happen again, and it is Congress’ duty to make sure it never happens again — by voting for the USA Rights Act.”

Attachments:

“Did the NSA chief admit the agency is recording everything?” By Robert Romano, June 13, 2013 at http://netrightdaily.com/2013/06/did-the-nsa-chief-admit-the-agency-is-recording-everything/

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at 703-383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts.

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Permanent reauthorization of Section 702 of FISA ‘borders on insanity’

Sept. 12, 2017, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement urging Congress to reject permanent reauthorization of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA):

“Permanent reauthorization of Section 702 of FISA, in the midst of the revelations of malfeasance by intelligence agencies during the 2016 presidential campaign and transition period, borders on insanity. The real question Congress must deal with is whether the intelligence community can be trusted with these powers at all. If it is determined it is in our national interest to allow the current mass surveillance architecture to remain in place, Congress can only put it on a very short lease, and Attorney General Sessions must prosecute those who violated the public trust through unmasking political targets in 2016 and beyond.

“The Fourth Amendment has never faced a larger threat than that which is presented in today’s Internet age, where virtually every office and home have multiple electronic devices which open a window and a microphone into each of our private lives. Now is not the time to permanently reauthorize Section 702 of FISA. In fact, it may be time to eliminate it altogether as being incompatible with a free society.”

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at 703-383-0880 ext. 100 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts.

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FISA Section 702 reauthorization cannot pass without reforms to stop violating the constitutional rights of the American people

May 24, 2017, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement urging Congress not to reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act without substantial reforms to stop the violating the 4th Amendment rights of the American people:

The unsealed April 26 FISA Court ruling finding of the unconstitutional use of federal government spying powers against the American people in 2016 underscores the exact reason why civil libertarians on the right and the left have been concerned about the growing surveillance state. The implications of the Obama administration unmasking hundreds of targeted people unconstitutionally leads any reasonable person to wonder how precisely this illegally gained information was used. In light of the obvious abuse of power in the Mike Flynn case of leaking Flynn’s name to the press after being unmasked for political reasons, it becomes reasonable to assume that was the intent of these unmaskings all along, and calls into question the continuance of the entire program.”

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at 703-383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts.

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Will Schumer react to NSA spying on Congress on Iran nuke deal?

Jan. 4, 2016, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement reacting to a Wall Street Journal report that National Security Agency (NSA) spying on Israeli officials netted conversations with members of Congress as they considered how to vote on the Iran nuclear deal:

“There is absolutely no excuse for the Obama administration to spy on Congress to gather information on an active piece of legislation, in this case the Iran nuclear deal. Congress has many roles in foreign policy, including the Treaty Power and consideration of other agreements with foreign governments. There has to be a bright line between those congressional deliberations and the executive branch on these agreements, which members are under no obligation to support. The executive branch can spy on any foreign government it wishes, but the moment it nets deliberations with members of Congress on active legislation, those conversations should have been immediately destroyed, not passed along.

“The most damning aspect of this is that reportedly the White House did not tell the NSA to stop once it knew it was intercepting conversations with Congress on what was an active political dispute between the branches of government. If true, these offenses would be impeachable. What did the President know and when did he know it? Congress was willing to impeach Richard Nixon, in Article 2, Section 2 of the Articles of Impeachment against him, for using electronic surveillance ‘for purposes unrelated to national security, the enforcement of laws, or any other lawful function of his office.’ Nixon resigned for similar surveillance against political enemies. You cannot say Nixon was horrible and had to go and then defend such an egregious abuse of power. There is too much at stake. Senate and House intelligence committees must convene hearings on this issue, and the Attorney General should appoint a special prosecutor immediately.

“To think what the NSA did was justified, you have to set aside the constitutional separation of powers and say it’s okay for the executive branch to spy on Congress whenever they meet with foreigners on legislation, which happens often when it comes to treaties, trade agreements and the like, just so the administration can win a domestic legislative debate. There is no other use these consultations would serve. These were legislative deliberations, not foreign intelligence. It cannot be both. Given the context, where the Israeli Prime Minister had been actively invited to Congress to speak on the issue, and was publicly opposed to the deal along with many members of Congress for perfectly valid reasons, there is no case to be made that this was espionage or a significant source of foreign intelligence.

“Not to be missed is, as the leading Senate Democrat opposed to the deal and perhaps the most heavily lobbied member of Congress on the issue, the strong likelihood that Senator Charles Schumer’s conversations were captured and forwarded to the White House. It has been a source of wonder that Schumer’s opposition was so ineffective in bringing other Democrats along, and it is reasonable to guess that the intelligence the NSA provided to the White House was used to thwart his efforts. One can be certain that if a Republican president had engaged in this illegal activity, Senator Schumer would be loudly calling for his or her impeachment. The integrity question for Schumer is whether he is willing to subject President Obama to those same standards, and lead an impeachment fight?”

Attachments:

NSA spying on Netanyahu, Congress over Iran nuke deal confirms worst fears, By Robert Romano, Dec. 31, 2015 at http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/12/31/nsa-spying-on-netanyahu-congress-over-iran-nuke-deal-confirms-worst-fears/

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at 703-383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Rick Manning.

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Senate must not rubber stamp mass surveillance program

May 29, 2015, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement urging there to be a vote on the National Security Agency mass surveillance program in the current debate over renewing the Patriot Act:

“The major civil liberties issue of our time is government surveillance of its citizens, and what sort of society we want to live in. And it should be debated in Congress to ensure the Constitution is followed. It is astonishing that a decision could be made renewing the Patriot Act without a full public accounting of the vast surveillance programs that were revealed in 2013. After 9/11, one of the cautions was not to let the terrorists win by fundamentally altering the constitutional relationship between government and the people. Renewing the Patriot Act without a vote specifically on the unconstitutional mass data collection blindly eviscerates the Fourth Amendment — and that would mean that the terrorists, in one way, have already won.”

Attachments:

“House authorizes NSA mass surveillance program,” By Robert Romano, May 14, 2015 at http://netrightdaily.com/2015/05/house-authorizes-nsa-mass-surveillance-program/

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at (703) 383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Rick Manning.

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House bill codifies NSA mass surveillance

May 13, 2015, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement urging the U.S. House of Representatives to reject H.R. 2048, which will codify the National Security Agency mass surveillance program:

“The U.S. House is missing an historic opportunity to rein in the NSA mass surveillance program. We urge the House to reject this emasculated version of the USA Freedom Act and return to real reform that protects Americans from government surveillance in violation of the Fourth Amendment.”

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at (703) 383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Rick Manning.

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House votes to uphold NSA domestic spying on every American

Search and seizure heroes and zeroes

July 25, 2013, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens today issued the following statement on the defeat of the Amash amendment that would have defunded the NSA domestic spying program in the House of Representatives:

“The NSA domestic surveillance program on every American was very nearly defunded in a narrow vote in the House, with a mere seven vote swing deciding its fate. Despite the disappointing outcome, the narrow margin is very good news for the American people, for now they have a political problem that can be dealt with via elections.

“The 205 representatives of both parties that voted to stop the spying program voted to uphold the Fourth Amendment and the original intent of Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which never authorized blanket, suspicionless surveillance of every single American.

“The 217 representatives who voted to defeat the Amash amendment have upheld the indiscriminate collection of phone and email records on everyone — just in case intelligence agencies might need that information later. This was a vote against the Fourth Amendment that protects against unreasonable searches and requires that warrants only issue but upon probable cause. To suggest the American people have no reasonable expectation of privacy in their phone and digital records against searches when no crime has been committed is to suggest that the Fourth Amendment no longer applies.

“The fact is, the government’s interpretation of Section 215 of the Patriot Act does something that has never been done before — which is assert that because you might commit a crime or engage in terrorism, you can be subjected to a search. Every case of searches of third party vendors’ phone and bank records were all relevant to investigations into specific persons regarding specific crimes. These are just general warrants searching everything and everyone. Every member who voted in favor of the surveillance state being built must now explain to their constituents what other freedoms they’re willing to sacrifice on this altar of false security.”

Attachments:

Yeas and Noes on Amash amendment by party, by state, The Associated Press, July 24, 2013 at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/24/amash-amendment-roll-call-vote_n_3648737.html

“Amash loses battle but could still win the war on domestic surveillance,” By ALG senior editor Robert Romano, July 25, 2013 at http://netrightdaily.com/2013/07/amash-loses-battle-but-could-still-win-the-war-on-domestic-surveillance/

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at (202) 744-4427 or at media@algnews.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Nathan Mehrens.

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