NADLER CRITICIZES HOUSE PASSAGE OF S. 139, THE FISA AMENDMENTS REAUTHORIZATION ACT

Jan 11, 2018 Issues: Government Oversight/Executive Branch, Civil Liberties, Intellectual Property/Technology

Washington, D.C. –Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed S. 139, the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act, by a vote of 256 to 164. This bill to reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act fails to accomplish meaningful reform or provide a significant measure of privacy protections. S. 139 is a flawed bill that is opposed by Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle and by technology companies and by privacy and civil liberties groups across the political spectrum.

In November 2017, H.R. 3989, the USA Liberty Act, a bipartisan bill supported by Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler and Chairman Bob Goodlatte, that reforms and reauthorizes Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to protect both national security and Americans’ civil liberties, passed out of the House Judiciary Committee by a vote of 27 to 8. Instead of giving the USA Liberty Act a full vote on the House floor, House Republican leadership instead chose to rush S. 139 to the floor without engaging the House Judiciary Committee, technology companies, civil society, or other stakeholders.

Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler released the following statement denouncing House passage of the bill:

“I am deeply disappointed in the passage of S. 139, the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act, which fails to enact meaningful privacy protections for the Section 702 surveillance program, codifies some of the most objectionable practices of the intelligence community, and does so under the disingenuous guise of ‘reform.’

“This legislation continues to allow the FBI access to information, for purely domestic cases, without a warrant in nearly all cases. If the FBI does not have probable cause to believe that someone is committing a crime or that an act of terrorism is being planned, it should not be able to use the Section 702 database to read the private communications of U.S. persons. Those in support of this bill defeated the critical Amash-Lofgren amendment which would have corrected this very issue. 

“I urge my colleagues in the Senate to thoroughly review this issue and to consider the perspectives of the House Judiciary Committee, technology companies, civil society, and other critical stakeholders who were excluded from this conversation by the GOP Majority in the House of Representatives long ago. Congress has a duty to reauthorize Section 702 in a form that respects Americans’ right to privacy as well as safeguards our nation from terrorism—and S. 139 is not the right path forward.” 

Watch Ranking Member Nadler’s floor statement in opposition to the bill here.

Read Ranking Member Nadler’s floor statement in opposition to the bill here.

This morning, House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff called for S. 139, the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act, to be pulled from the House floor during floor debate. Ranking Member Schiff said, “I recommend we withdraw consideration of the bill today to give us more time to address privacy questions that have been raised as well as to get a clear statement from the Administration about their position on the bill.” 

Watch the full floor debate on the bill here.

Read more about S. 139,the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act here.

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