January 11, 2018

Congresswoman Lee Slams Passage of FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act; Calls for Meaningful Reforms to Protect Civil Liberties

Washington, D.C. Congresswoman Barbara Lee released the following statement condemning the passage of the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act:

“In developing sensitive national security legislation, Congress has a responsibility to strike an appropriate balance between ensuring the safety of Americans and protecting civil liberties. The FISA Amendment Reauthorization Act passed by the House today fails this test. Alarmingly, this bill expands the spy powers of the Trump Administration and gives the federal government broad authority to read Americans’ emails, text messages, and other electronic communications without a warrant.

“As a subject of J. Edgar Hoover’s intrusive and discriminatory COINTELPRO, I have seen the havoc that these covert spying campaigns can wreak. The wiretapping and harassment of Dr. Marin Luther King Jr. and his family will go down in history as one of our nation’s most shameful chapters. As we’ve seen all too often, it is journalists, dissidents, marginalized communities, and people of color who become the targets of government surveillance.

“Members of both parties support FISA reform, which is why I voted for the USA Rights Act, which would have made meaningful modifications to protect Americans’ constitutional rights. Our civil liberties shouldn’t be signed away with the stroke of a pen.”