Senator Murray Statement on Reauthorization of FISA

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) issued the statement below following the Senate’s vote on H.R. 6172, the USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act of 2020. The measure passed the Senate 80-16, and will now go back to the House.

“I firmly believe we must protect the constitutional rights of all Americans when allowing the federal government to collect intelligence information vital to our nation’s security, and I’ve long had concerns about how the government interprets and uses its authorities under FISA and how it impacts our civil liberties and right to privacy. Moreover, I’ve been deeply disappointed and frustrated by President Trump and his defenders’ efforts to throw ill-founded, partisan considerations into the mix and politicize this important debate.

“This is a serious issue with implications not just for our intelligence community, but for the rights and privacy of millions of people in my home state of Washington and across the country. So while I appreciate that my colleagues have taken meaningful steps to improve the law by restricting and bolstering oversight of the sweeping surveillance powers authorized under FISA, these reforms still don’t go far enough to protect Americans’ civil liberties.

“While I voted against this reauthorization, I remain committed to continue working in the Senate to strike the right balance between giving our intelligence professionals the tools they need to keep America safe, and respecting our fundamental rights which so many have fought and sacrificed to defend.”

Senator Murray has consistently fought to rein in the collection of American’s personal data and communications, and to subject the Intelligence Community to greater oversight and accountability. This includes voting against the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 and against reauthorization in 2012. Senator Murray also worked to secure provisions to the USA FREEDOM Act to prohibit the bulk collection of data in 2015, and voted against the FISA Amendments Act’s reauthorization in 2017.