Wyden Votes No on Bill to Hand Government Warrantless Spying Power

Washington, D.C. – Senior Intelligence Committee member U.S. Sen. Wyden, D-Ore., issued the following statement today, after voting against a bill to renew massive warrantless surveillance powers:

“Today I voted no against reviving sweeping programs that spy on innocent Americans without a warrant. This bill does far too little to protect Americans’ Constitutional rights against unnecessary government spying, a prospect that should terrify everyone concerned by the Trump administration and Attorney General Barr’s trampling on the rule of law. The legislation hands the government power for warrantless collection of Americans’ web browsing and internet searches, as well as other private information, without having to demonstrate that those Americans have done anything wrong, or even were in contact with anyone suspected of wrongdoing. I have deep concerns about other parts of the bill, including the requirement that Attorney General Barr personally involve himself in cases involving politicians. Moreover, the bill fails to close loopholes that the government could use to collect Americans’ records without any court oversight at all.

“However, this bill does include key victories that I’ve spent years fighting for: expansion of the role of the independent FISA Court amicus, permanently ending the NSA’s massive phone record program and prohibiting warrantless collection of cell phone location and GPS information. But without further reform of these vague and dangerous PATRIOT Act authorities, Congress is inviting more secret interpretations of the law and more abuses. Finally, it’s worth noting that a large bipartisan majority of 59 senators supported my amendment to ban warrantless collection of internet browsing and search history, and I am confident that if it were to come up again, this important protection of Americans’ rights would pass.”