The amendment to Section 215 surveillance law offered by Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) received an overwhelming vote of 77 in favor, 19 against.
“After months of dialogue with virtually every member of the Senate, and working closely with other civil liberties organizations, we have prevailed,” said Bob Goodlatte, the former Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and senior policy advisor of the Project for Privacy and Surveillance Accountability (PPSA). “This is proof that the best ideas can still win out.
“As a result, we can celebrate one of the most important victories to protect our civil liberties in recent years,” Goodlatte said.
Gene Schaerr, PPSA general counsel, added: “As a result of this amendment, FBI applications to surveil political campaigns, candidates, public officials, religious organizations and the media will likely be subjected to evaluation by independent legal scholars. This is a major step to prevent the next Carter Page incident.
“But much remains to be done in 702 FISA reform, including restraints on the practice of ‘unmasking’ Americans caught up in foreign surveillance,” Schaerr said. “We have reason for cheer today, but PPSA will stay active to keep working to limit government surveillance within the guardrails of our Constitution.”