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NSA Surveillance: Polis, Amash, Conyers Introduce Major Bill

BIPARTISAN COALITION OF 33 MEMBERS OF CONGRESS PROPOSE LIBERT-E ACT

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Washington, Jun 18, 2013 | comments
Representative Jared Polis (D-CO) joined Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI), Chairman of the House Liberty Caucus, and Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), the Ranking Member on the House Judiciary Committee, to announce the introduction of bipartisan legislation to address National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance.
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Representative Jared Polis (D-CO) joined Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI), Chairman of the House Liberty Caucus, and Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), the Ranking Member on the House Judiciary Committee, to announce the introduction of bipartisan legislation to address National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance.

“The recent revelations of the NSA’s data-mining program is just another example of the federal government’s continued abuse of the overly broad powers provided under the Patriot Act. I am proud to stand with Representatives Justin Amash and John Conyers to modify the Patriot Act to protect our privacy,” said Rep. Polis. “Our bill will not only bring much needed transparency to instances of surveillance on innocent Americans, but will also provide limitations to the federal government’s use of the Patriot Act.”

H.R. 2399, the Limiting Internet and Blanket Electronic Review of Telecommunications and Email Act (LIBERT-E Act), restricts the federal government’s ability under the Patriot Act to collect information on Americans who are not connected to an ongoing investigation. The bill also requires that secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court opinions be made available to Congress and summaries of the opinions be made available to the public.

After introduction, Conyers and Amash issued the following statement:

“The recent NSA leaks indicate that the federal government collects phone records and intercepts electronic communications on a scale previously unknown to most Americans. The LIBERT-E Act imposes reasonable limits on the federal government’s surveillance. The bill puts some teeth into the FISA court’s determination of whether records the government wants are actually relevant to an investigation. It also makes sure that innocent Americans’ information isn’t needlessly swept up into a government database. LIBERT-E prohibits the type of government dragnet that the leaked Verizon order revealed.”

“We accept that free countries must engage in secret operations from time to time to protect their citizens. Free countries must not, however, operate under secret laws. Secret court opinions obscure the law. They prevent public debate on critical policy issues and they stop Congress from fulfilling its duty to enact sound laws and fix broken ones. LIBERT-E lets every congressman have access to FISA court opinions so that Congress can have a more informed debate about security and privacy. And the bill requires that unclassified summaries of the opinions be available to the public so that Americans can judge for themselves the merit of their government’s actions. We are proud to lead a broad, bipartisan coalition that’s working to protect privacy. It shouldn’t matter whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican. Defending the Constitution and protecting Americans’ rights should be an effort we all can support.”

The following Members of Congress also cosponsored the legislation:

Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA)
Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA)
Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA)
Rep. John Duncan (R-TN)
Rep. William Enyart (D-IL)
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY)
Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA)
Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ)
Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ)
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA)
Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC)
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY)
Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA)
Rep. James McDermott (D-WA)
Rep. James McGovern (D-MA)
Rep. Mike Michaud (D-ME)
Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC)
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)
Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX)
Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM)
Rep. Trey Radel (R-FL)
Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ)
Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC)
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ)
Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT)
Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL)

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