S. 139

Bill Information
Roll Call
About The Keyvote

Despite some tweaks to the original text produced by the House Select Committee on Intelligence, the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act continues to represent an assault on the Fourth Amendment.

The Bill of Rights is a cornerstone of our constitutional republic, and crucial to defending the civil liberties of all American citizens. FISA has caused damage to the Fourth Amendment for years, and now is a critical time to support genuine reform, such as the USA RIGHTS Act.

The revised version of the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act remains the exact opposite of reform, and it is worse than current law. The bill would continue the backdoor search, with an utterly meaningless “warrant requirement.” The caveats proposed to this purported “warrant requirement” are an end-run around the Fourth Amendment.

The bill provides a path for the National Security Agency (NSA) to restart the practice of “abouts” collection. This means if a U.S. person mentions a potential surveillance target in a communication, the NSA can collect it, regardless of whether or not the U.S. person was communicating with anyone associated with the target.

When the NSA was forced to end “abouts” collection, a judge on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) wrote that the practice raised “a very serious Fourth Amendment issue.” The judge also criticized the NSA for “an institutional lack of candor” for failing to disclose rule violations.