Congress Fails to Protect Privacy…. Again

With New FOIA Request, Defending Rights & Dissent and National Lawyers Guild Demand Answers About Infiltration of Inauguration Protests
January 11, 2018
Groups seek oversight of NYPD Strategic Response Group’s role in abusive and repressive protest policing and conflation of “anti-terror” and protest
January 16, 2018
With New FOIA Request, Defending Rights & Dissent and National Lawyers Guild Demand Answers About Infiltration of Inauguration Protests
January 11, 2018
Groups seek oversight of NYPD Strategic Response Group’s role in abusive and repressive protest policing and conflation of “anti-terror” and protest
January 16, 2018


Yesterday, the House passed the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act (S. 139), giving the NSA authority to sweep up internet communications of foreigners and untold numbers of Americans without a warrant, and allowing the FBI to troll through the collected data without a warrant. We came close to getting some important reforms to the program, specifically requiring the FBI to get a warrant to search Americans’ data. But in the end, Democrats joined with Republicans to defeat the reform amendment and to pass the bill giving the Trump administration vast warrantless surveillance authorities.

See the final vote on the Amash amendment to impose some restrictions here.

See the final vote on the FISA Amendments Reauth, which extends warrantless internet surveillance for another 6 years here.

The bill now moves to the Senate. We expect a cloture vote on Tuesday (cloture cuts off debate and allows a vote on the bill.. we focus on cloture because it requires 60 votes to move the bill to the floor, so 41 nay votes effectively kills the bill).

Take Action! Send an email (and call) your Senators.

How the Vote Unfolded Yesterday

The morning started with a weird tweet from Trump at 7:33 a.m. that caused a bit of confusion:


By 9:14, Speaker Paul Ryan had explained to him that he supports the FISA Act, so Trump walked his tweet back with a follow-up

Meanwhile, the House Intelligence committee was hard at work trying to defeat the USA Rights Act, which would have imposed some necessary restrictions on the mass surveillance program (but still allowing it to continue). They dialed the fear level up to 11 with flyers like this:

In the end, conservative/libertarian Republicans joined with (some) progressive Democrats to support reform and then vote against the Intelligence Committee bill when the reform amendment was defeated… but it wasn’t enough.