The House Judiciary Committee today passed the Protect Liberty and End Warrantless Surveillance Act with an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote.
Unlike competing proposals – such as the FISA Reform and Reauthorization Act now before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) – the Protect Liberty Act mandates a robust warrant requirement for U.S. person searches under FISA Section 702. It curtails the common government surveillance technique of “reverse targeting” – using FISA’s Section 702 authority to work backwards to target Americans without a warrant.
The Protect Liberty Act adopts language from the Fourth Amendment Is Not for Sale Act. This language closes the loophole that allows government agencies to buy access to Americans’ most sensitive and personal information scraped from apps and sold by data brokers.
The Protect Liberty Act also requires amicus participation in FISA cases to protect the public and the Constitution, ensuring that the secret FISA Court will hear from civil liberties experts as well as government attorneys.
And the bill would require FBI agents seeking search orders to testify to the accuracy of their reasons for bringing the search.
In contrast, the competing FISA Reform and Reauthorization Act emerging from HPSCI has a weak warrant requirement that would not stop the widespread practice of backdoor searches of Americans’ information. And it does not address the outrageous practice of federal agencies buying up Americans’ most sensitive and private information from data brokers.
The contrast between these two bills could not be starker. Ranking Member Jerry Nadler (D-NY) said the Protect Liberty Act is the only one of these two bills “that can pass on a floor vote.”
House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan says he expects a floor vote next week.
PPSA applauds the committee for passing this bill with such strong, bipartisan support. We are grateful to committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH), Ranking Member Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) (who introduced the bill), Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-CA), Rep. Russell Fry (R-SC), Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), Rep. Eli Crane (R-AZ), as well as leaders of the House Freedom Caucus and Progressive Caucus, Reps Warren Davidson (R-OH) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA).
PPSA is also grateful to all the Members of the House Judiciary Committee who offered helpful amendments to strengthen the bill.
PPSA will follow this fast-moving story.