The Senate will vote today on a procedural motion to waive a point of order on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), allowing a non-germane extension of a controversial surveillance program. A vote in favor of this procedural motion is a vote to accept an unreformed, “clean” extension of surveillance of Americans under FISA’s Section 702 for the next 16 months, giving Senators no chance to debate or amend that troubled surveillance authority.
Why is this so? What is being billed as a four-month extension of Section 702 in the NDAA actually allows the government to ask the FISA Court early next year for another year-long certification.
This maneuver would extend the warrantless surveillance of Americans past any debate in this Congress and past the next presidential election. Unless you vote against the motion, allowing this extension to be part of the NDAA will effectively allow federal agencies to warrantlessly surveil Americans through April 2025.
There is no reason to listen to the purveyors of panic. There is widespread, bicameral, and bipartisan agreement on extending or reauthorizing Section 702 authority to enable foreign intelligence to safeguard our national security. There is no good reason to sneak a clean FISA 702 extension into the NDAA at the last minute.
Such a move would deny the champions of Section 702 reform even a chance to make their case in the relevant committees and on the floor – a tragedy for regular order and for democracy.
For that reason, PPSA will be scoring votes for our followers. We will negatively score votes in favor of any motion that allows a Section 702 extension as part of the NDAA. We will give positive scores to those who vote against any such motion.