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House Introduces Bill to Repeal the Patriot Act

Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) have introduced the Surveillance State Repeal Act that would end the NSA’s unconstitutional domestic spying. I can say without hesitation: this bill is the real deal.

“The Patriot Act contains many provisions that violate the Fourth Amendment and have led to a dramatic expansion of our domestic surveillance state,” said Rep. Massie. "Our Founding Fathers fought and died to stop the kind of warrantless spying and searches that the Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act authorize. It is long past time to repeal the Patriot Act and reassert the constitutional rights of all Americans. I am proud to co-sponsor Congressman Pocan’s bill and look forward to working with him on this issue.”

Congress has introduced a handful of NSA reform bills over the past few years. Due to public disapproval of NSA spying, there is significant political pressure to “do something” about it. Most of these reform bills, however, would do practically nothing to rein in warrantless spying. Civil liberties experts say that most of these bills contain loopholes that would allow the invasive practices to continue.

That’s why it’s so refreshing to see a bill like the Surveillance State Repeal Act. It’s bold and effective. Specifically, here is what the bill would do:

  1. Repeals the Patriot Act (which contains the provision that allows for the bulk collection of metadata from U.S. citizens).
  2. Repeals the FISA Amendments Act (which contains provisions allowing for the government to monitor emails).
  3. It would extend judges’ terms on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and technical and legal experts to advise on technical issues raised during proceedings.
  4. Mandate that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) regularly monitor such domestic surveillance programs for compliance with the law and issue an annual report.
  5. Ban the federal government from mandating that the manufacturer of an electronic device must install spy software.
  6. Gives people a proper channel to report illegal activity in their department.
  7. Says that no information related to a U.S. person may be acquired without a valid warrant based on probable cause—including under Executive Order 12333.
  8. Retains tools that are useful to law enforcement such as not requiring a new warrant if the suspect switches devices in an attempt to break surveillance.
  9. Protects intelligence collection practices involving foreign targets for the purpose of investigating weapons of mass destruction.

The Surveillance State Repeal Act is a no-nonsense bill that would restore our civil liberties while keeping us safe. Take action today!

P.S. Have you heard that FreedomWorks is suing the NSA? Check it out.