Campaign for Liberty has joined a broad-based coalition of groups in sending a letter to the House leadership in support of an amendment being offered by a bipartisan group of legislators (led by Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie and California Representative Zoe Lofgren) to the Department of Defense Appropriations Bill.
The amendment prohibits the use of federal funds to conduct warrantlesss searches of goverment databases for information about US citizens.
The amendment also prohibits the use of taxpayer funds to place "backdoors" on electronic devices that enable the goverment to spy on our electronic devices without a warrant.
The amendment will be voted on tomorrow so Campaign for Liberty members should call their Representatives and tell them to vote for the Massie-Lofgren anti-warrantless surveillance amendment.
Text of the letter here:
June 10, 2015
The Honorable John Boehner, Speaker
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader
The Honorable Kevin McCarthy, Majority Leader
The Honorable Steny Hoyer, Democratic Whip
The Honorable Steve Scalise Majority Whip
The Honorable Hal Roger Chairman Approriaitons Committee
The Honorable Nita Lowey, Chairman, Appropriations Committee Ranking Member,
The Honorable Rodney Frelinghuysen, Chairman, Defense Appropriations Subc.
The Honorable Pete Visclosky Ranking Member, Defense Appropriations Subc.
RE: Massie-Lofgren Amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act
of 2016, H.R. 2685
Dear Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader McCarthy, Majority Whip Scalise, Chairman Rogers,
Chairman Frelinghuysen, Democratic Leader Pelosi, Democratic Whip Hoyer, Ranking Member
Lowey, and Ranking Member Visclosky:
We write to urge your support for an amendment that Representatives Massie and Lofgren will offer to H.R. 2685, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2016. In previous years, the amendment garnered the broad support of a majority of members of the House of Representatives. It addresses two critical issues necessary for the protection of Constitutional principles and the digital economy.
First, the amendment would defund warrantless government searches of the database of information collected under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 using U.S. person identifiers, absent certain circumstances. Although Section 702 prohibits the government from intentionally targeting the communications of U.S. persons, it does not explicitly restrict deliberately querying communications of Americans that were “inadvertently” or “incidentally” collected under Section 702. Moreover, following an apparent change in the NSA’s internal practices in 2011, the NSA now is explicitly permitted under certain circumstances to conduct searches using U.S. person names and identifiers without a warrant.1
In March, James Clapper, the Director of the Office of National Intelligence, confirmed in a letter to Senator Wyden that such warrantless queries of U.S. person communications are being conducted.2
Second, the amendment would prohibit the use of appropriated funds to require or request that United States persons and entities build security vulnerabilities into their products or services in order to facilitate government surveillance, except as provided for by the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act.
This amendment is identical to the Massie-Lofgren amendment that passed the House of Representatives by an overwhelming 293-vote majority in 2014, although it was not included in the omnibus appropriations bill that ultimately was enacted into law.
Today, this amendment enjoys overwhelming, bipartisan support, both from the public and from the undersigned groups. In addition to supporting these necessary steps forward by voting in favor of this amendment to H.R. 2685, we also respectfully ask you work to ensure it is included in any legislation sent to the President.
American Civil Liberties Union
Arab American Institute
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Campaign for Liberty
The Constitution Project
Council on American-Islamic Relations
Defending Dissent Foundation
Fight for the Future
Free Press Action Fund
Friends Committee on National Legislation
New America's Open Technology Institute
Project On Government Oversight (POGO)
Restore The Fourth
Student Net Alliance
2 http://www.wyden.senate.gov/download/?id=130BFF88-A3C0-4315-A23B-C4F96C499D9D& do wnload=1
Tags: thomas massie, USA PATRIOT Act, Survielance State