For Immediate Release
Sean Vitka, sean@demandprogress
Leave Patriot Act out of Continuing Resolution: ACLU, Demand Progress, FreedomWorks, NAACP, and More
24 Organizations Just Called on Congressional Leadership to Leave Controversial FISA Authorities Out of "Must-Pass" Legislation
WASHINGTON - Today, 24 organizations called on Congressional leaders not to include controversial, expired FISA authorities in the Continuing Resolution or any other must-pass legislation. The expired authorities include Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, which the government claimed as the basis for the NSA's illegal bulk telephone metadata program.
Demand Progress Education Fund and the FreedomWorks Foundation have released numerous relevant materials at www.Section215.org.
Urgent questions remain unanswered regarding the government's use of these authorities, in particular around possible dragnet surveillance of internet activity, stemming from a series of extraordinary actions by the Chairmen of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, which we detailed in an August letter.
As described in today's letter: "Senators Lee and Leahy requested in June but still have not received answers from Attorney General Barr and Director of National Intelligence Ratcliffe on whether the Executive Branch is relying on secret claims of inherent executive power to continue surveillance in the absence of statutory authorization, which they concluded would be illegal. Government witnesses, meanwhile, have refused to substantively answer similar questions from Representative Lofgren, Senator Wyden, and Ranking Member Feinstein."
Today's letter also notes that "two weeks ago the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that the National Security Agency's bulk telephone metadata program was unlawful, likely unconstitutional, and that the government had made untrue public assertions, including during Congressional oversight hearings, regarding the usefulness of the program as it related to the prosecution of Basaaly Moalin."
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The full list of signers is appended below, and the letter is available here:
American Civil Liberties Union
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)
Center for Biological Diversity
Defending Rights & Dissent
Due Process Institute
Fight for the Future
Freedom of the Press Foundation
Government Information Watch
National Coalition Against Censorship
New America's Open Technology Institute
People For the American Way
Project for Privacy and Surveillance Accountability (PPSA)
Project on Government Oversight
Restore The Fourth
Revolutionary Love Project
S.T.O.P - The Surveillance Technology Oversight Project
cc: House of Representatives
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