Late last week, word began to circulate that the Senate majority is considering including Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in a Continuing Resolution (CR). On Monday morning, a broad coalition of civil liberties groups – left, right and center – sent a letter to Majority Leader Chuck Schumer urging him and the Senate not to include Section 702 in the CR or any must-pass legislation.
Bob Goodlatte, PPSA Senior Policy Advisor and former Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, explained why PPSA joined in this effort in a media statement. Goodlatte said:
“We’ve seen how short-term extensions have a habit of becoming long-term. Extending Section 702 in the CR risks a clean reauthorization of Section 702 with no reforms.
“If that happens, expect the FBI to get back to business as usual. Expect warrantless FBI surveillance of Members of Congress and Americans exercising their First Amendment rights to continue. Including Section 702 in the CR would also cut reform off at the knees. It would short-circuit bipartisan reformers in the House and Senate, including critical legislative efforts by the House Judiciary Committee and by dozens of Senators and House Members who’ve worked in good faith to balance national security with our constitutional rights.
“Upending these reform efforts would not only lead to a new wave of abuses under Section 702 or other parts of FISA – it would also enable federal agencies to increasingly surveil Americans by accessing our most sensitive personal data, scraped from apps, and sold to the government by shadowy data brokers.
“For all these reasons, it would be a terrible mistake to include Section 702 in a CR or any other must-pass legislation.”