Big Brother Rolls OnMay 20, 2020
Did we really kill the PATRIOT Act last night?May 27, 2020
Once again we’ve been double crossed by Nancy Pelosi, shanked by Adam Schiff.
As these “heroes” of the resistance and leaders of the Democratic Party decry the authoritarian tendencies of President Trump, they fall over themselves to undermine our Constitutional rights to deliver extraordinary surveillance authorities to the Trump administration.
We joined our allies on the left and right to demand a vote on the Wyden (D-OR)-Daines (R-MT) amendment to the USA Freedom Act (which reauthorizes three PATRIOT Act surveillance provisions). That amendment would have prohibited the FBI from grabbing our internet browsing and search histories. We mobilized our grassroots, we fought hard. As did some principled members of Congress who similarly demanded the right to vote on this important amendment.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), a long time leader on protecting our privacy, joined forces with Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH) to pen a House version of Wyden-Daines.
Pelosi promised a vote on the Lofgren-Davidson amendment, but forced them to work out compromise language with the FBI and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Chair of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, and a vicious surveillance hawk.
The language of the amendment was not made public until Tuesday afternoon (after DRAD had already alerted our members that the Lofgren-Davidson amendment would get a vote, and urging support). DRAD had pegged our support on a statement earlier on Tuesday from Rep. Lofgren.
We have to withdraw that support because the amendment has too many holes, is too narrow, and is too vague to effectively protect our Fourth Amendment rights. Read the amendment here. To be clear: we now urge opposition to Lofgren-Davidson, and opposition to the USA Freedom Reauthorization Act.
Senator Wyden, who also had originally supported Lofgren-Davidson also, has withdrawn his support, as reported by Gizmodo:
Wyden’s trust in the amendment, which is notably ambiguous, was based on his belief that the secret FISA court would interpret the language in a specific way, an aide had said. But Schiff’s remarks to the Times directly contradicted that belief. Both Wyden and Lofgren had circulated carefully written statements earlier in the day designed to publicly reinforce their interpretation of the text.
“It is now clear that there is no agreement with the House Intelligence Committee to enact true protections for Americans’ rights against dragnet collection of online activity, which is why I must oppose this amendment, along with the underlying bill, and urge the House to vote on the original Wyden-Daines amendment,” Wyden said.
Indeed, even Rep. Davidson, the co-sponsor of the amendment expressed his opposition
“This is Rep. Schiff and intelligence hawks working overtime to protect the surveillance state status quo,” Davidson, the amendment’s cosponsor, told Gizmodo. “Hopefully everyone will wake up and defend the Constitution. It’s time for the House to protect one of Americans’ most basic freedoms—the right to privacy.”
When even the original sponsor of the amendment no longer believes in it, you know it’s time to withdraw support. Call your Representative and tell them to vote NO on Lofgren-Davidson (as currently written).
And then urge them to vote NO on the full USA Freedom Reauthorization Act when it comes to the floor. This is not the reform we need.
You can reach your Representative by calling 202-224-3121 or, if you don’t know who your Representative is, you can look here.