House Passes Weak Tea; NSA Reform Lacks TransparencyTweet
May 22, 2014
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a weakened version of the USA FREEDOM Act. Unfortunately, it omits critical government reporting requirements included in the original USA FREEDOM Act as introduced by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).
We are deeply troubled that much-needed reforms to shine a light on surveillance activities were cut out of the weak tea the House passed today. We cannot expect this bill to protect privacy and civil liberties, while the public and Congress continue to be in the dark about the policies in practice. Without transparency, there will be no way of knowing if the bulk collection of data has ended.
The original USA FREEDOM Act required public annual reports from the government that included the total—or a good faith estimate—of the number of individuals and U.S. persons included in various domestic surveillance activities. It also required public reports every six months on the number of requests using National Security Letters. The House-passed bill was stripped of all of these reporting requirements. It leaves the American public without a reliable way to determine whether the National Security Agency (NSA) has access to their phone, e-mail and other electronic records.
Sen. Leahy expressed disappointment that the bill did not include “important reforms related to national security letters, a strong special advocate at the FISA Court, and greater transparency.” He announced that he will continue to push for the missing reforms when his Senate Judiciary Committee considers the USA FREEDOM Act this summer.
We urge the Senate to preserve the original USA FREEDOM Act’s essential protections and ensure its basic government transparency provisions are in any final surveillance reform legislation.
Ms. Brian's areas of expertise include: National Security, Government Oversight, Wasteful Defense Spending, Ethics, Open Government, Whistleblower Issues
Topics: National Security
Authors: Danielle Brian
- March 23, 2015
- March 16, 2015
- March 2, 2015
- February 26, 2015
- February 12, 2015
- January 13, 2015
- December 18, 2014
- December 5, 2014
Browse POGOBlog by Topic
POGO on Facebook
Podcast; Social Media, Internet Provides Opportunities, Challenges for Lawmakers
The Congressional Management Foundation offers the Gold Mouse Awards annually to members of Congress who make the most of the opportunity the digital world offers them. POGO spoke with members of Rep. Mike Honda's communications team about their award.