More than 50 House Members from both parties signed a letter authored by Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), warning House and Senate leadership not to reauthorize and extend Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act alongside the “must pass” National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
“If Section 702 is to be reauthorized for even a single day, it must be through standalone legislation subject to robust, open debate and amendment,” the House Members state. “This controversial law has a history of abuse, including spying on Americans, including tens of thousands of protestors as well as journalists, campaign supporters, Members of the U.S. Congress, and presidential campaigns.”
Signers include House progressive leaders like Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), as well as solid conservatives ranging from Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) to Rep. Ben Cline (R-VA) to Rep. Harriett Hageman (R-WY).
“[S]lipping a short-term reauthorization into a larger bill would rightly be seen as circumventing the democratic process, ignoring the will of Congress, and disregarding the concerns of the American people,” the House Members conclude.
PPSA hopes House and Senate Leadership see the blinking red lights here. If leadership were to override the long-pent up debate over Section 702 – enacted by Congress to surveil foreigners on foreign soil but often used by the FBI and other federal agencies as a domestic spy program – it would leave a legacy of bitterness, suspicion, and distrust from which the intelligence community might never recover.