We write to share our concern about the reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act and the dwindling time remaining to have a meaningful debate and amendment process before your target adjournment at the end of next week. We ask that you contact your party leadership and let them know that you expect ample time for floor debate, privacy and transparency amendments, and possible conference with the House on ultimate legislation.
The FISA Amendments Act is a sweeping authority that allows the government to collect international communications without a warrant, even if an American in the US is on one end. After four and a half years, there is no information publicly available describing how many Americans are caught up in this surveillance program or what is done with the information once collected. There also hasn’t been a single minute of Senate floor time scheduled for debating the merits of this program or to considering amendments that would increase transparency of this program and insert basic privacy protections for our sensitive information in preparation for this reauthorization.
There is a bipartisan group of Senators working on such amendments, and we ask you to support their efforts and demand fair process and consideration-including either floor consideration as soon as possible, [or a short term extension that would permit this debate early next year.] Informed by the dozens of Patriot Act, FISA and other surveillance votes over the last decade, we know that waiting to vote in the final days of a congress or moments before a sunset unfairly weights the vote against even the most modest and common sense amendments. We urge you not to let this happen once again.
Thank you for your consideration.
- American Library Association
- The Association of Research Libraries
- American Association of Law Libraries
- Bill of Rights Defense Committee
- Center for Democracy and Technology
- Center for Media and Democracy
- Center for Media Justice
- Communication Is Your Right!
- Competitive Enterprise Institute
- Council on American-Islamic Relations
- CREDO Action
- Demand Progress
- Defending Dissent Foundation
- Fight for the Future
- Free Press
- Institute for Local Self-Reliance
- Instituto de Educación Popular del Sur de
- California (IDEPSCA)
- Liberty Coalition
- May First/People Link
- Media Alliance
- Media Literacy Project
- National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
- Open Internet Tools Project
- OpenMedia International
- OpenThe Government.org
- Privacy Camp
- Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
- The Constitution Project