Government Surveillance and Americans’ Privacy

Rep. Beto O'Rourke
Jan 11, 2018 · 1 min read

We must not sacrifice Americans’ rights under the guise of national security.

The House just voted on a bill called the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act. I voted no.

This bill would extend a government program authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that authorizes the National Security Agency (NSA) to collect the communications of those outside of the United States. Sounds straight forward, but we know in the past this program has also captured the private communications of Americans. The FBI can then search the communications of those Americans without a warrant, which would normally be prohibited by the 4th Amendment of the Constitution.

That’s why back in October, I helped introduce a bipartisan bill called the USA RIGHTS Act. Our legislation reforms Section 702 to ensure that our intelligence communities can conduct foreign surveillance of terrorists while also requiring a warrant to look at Americans’ communications. I believe it’s critical to provide Americans this basic privacy protection.

Today, I joined many of my colleagues in voting for an amendment that would bring the bill on the floor in line with the USA RIGHTS Act. I think that’s the right way forward, and I’ll keep doing everything I can to push for this type of approach.

Rep. Beto O'Rourke

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Official blog of the US Representative for El Paso, TX