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As one of our over 6 million FreedomWorks activists nationwide, I urge you to contact your representative and urge him or her to vote YES on the Sensenbrenner amendment to H.R. 4870, the Department of Defense Appropriations bill. Co-sponsored by a bi-partisan coalition that includes Reps. Amash, Lofgren, Conyers, and Massie, this amendment would disallow any funding in the bill from being used to search for the communications of U.S. citizens gathered without a warrant.
Under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, intelligence agencies are allowed to collect communications without a warrant as long as any party connected to the communication is “reasonably believed” to be located outside of the United States. One major problem: in an era in which email servers are located all over the world, there is no clear way to define what communications do not lie “outside” the U.S. for FISA’s purposes.
Therefore, this bipartisan amendment would prohibit any funding from being used to acquire communications of U.S. citizens under the applicable section of FISA without a warrant. This warrant requirement was one of the original provisions of the USA Freedom Act before that bill’s language was weakened significantly in the House.
The second section of this amendment also prevents any funding of “any department or agency to mandate or request” that a person or organization install a security backdoor to assist the government with electronic surveillance. This provision is to address disturbing reports that the NSA has asked companies to install security software that subsequently proved to be massively flawed and easily broken into by the NSA.
Please contact your Representative and urge him or her to vote for this Sensenbrenner Amendment to protect Americans from warrantless government surveillance. FreedomWorks will count any vote on this amendment as a Key Vote when calculating our Economic Freedom Scorecard for 2014. The scorecard is used to determine eligibility for the FreedomFighter Award, which recognizes Members of Congress who consistently vote to support economic freedom.
Matt Kibbe President and CEO, FreedomWorks