The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

ACLU Slams Congress for NDAA Vote Extending Mass Surveillance Program with No Reforms

Organization Vows to Continue Pushing for Much-Needed Protections Against Unwarranted Government Surveillance

The House of Representatives voted 310-118 to pass the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes a four-month extension of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) with none of the fundamental reforms needed to protect Americans’ civil rights and civil liberties.

Section 702 was designed to allow the government to warrantlessly surveil non-U.S. citizens abroad for foreign intelligence purposes. In recent years, however, it has morphed into a domestic surveillance tool, with FBI agents using the Section 702 databases to conduct millions of invasive searches for Americans’ communications — including those of protesters, racial justice activists, 19,000 donors to a congressional campaign, journalists, and even members of Congress.

The American Civil Liberties Union, along with dozens of other civil society organizations from across the political spectrum, recently sent a letter to congressional leadership urging them to oppose any attempt to include this authority in the NDAA or any other “must-pass” legislation.

The following is a statement from Kia Hamadanchy, senior policy counsel at ACLU:

“It’s incredibly disheartening that Congress decided to extend an easily-abused law with zero of the reforms needed to protect all of our privacy. As long as Section 702 is being used by the government to spy on Americans without a warrant, we will continue to fight this unconstitutional law and work with Congress to strengthen our Fourth Amendment protections against government surveillance.”

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

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