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OpenTheGovernment.org and POGO Oppose Efforts to Further Weaken USA Freedom Act

Surveillance cameras in front of the U.S. Capitol.

(Photo: Flickr/satanoid)

Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act expired on Sunday at midnight, several hours after the Senate voted 77 to 17 to begin debate on the USA Freedom Act.

The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) and OpenTheGovernment.org support Congress’s refusal to re-authorize an illegal surveillance program without major reforms. Both organizations also strongly oppose Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s attempts to further weaken the USA Freedom Act through the amendment process.

Dr. Patrice McDermott, executive director of OpenTheGovernment.org, said: “Instead of allowing a vote on a single amendment to strengthen the USA Freedom Act, Sen. McConnell has introduced a series of attempts to weaken the bill. The Senate should decisively reject them all.” 

Particularly harmful are the proposed amendments that would further weaken the bill’s Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) reforms, and eliminate the requirement that the Executive Branch declassify significant FISC opinions.

Adoption of either amendment would cause POGO and OpenTheGovernment.org to oppose the bill.

Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), added: “Secret courts and secret laws are unacceptable in a democracy, and experience has shown that they cannot effectively protect our privacy.”

Topics: Open Government

Related Content: Government Secrecy, Surveillance

Authors: Joe Newman

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