Over the weekend, CQ-Roll Call and Wired published alarming reporting indicating that the Senate version of the continuing resolution will include a straight reauthorization of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Section 702 has been routinely abused in ways that violate Americans’ fundamental civil liberties and civil rights. FBI agents have used this surveillance authority, which is supposed to be limited to non-U.S. citizens located outside the United States, to gain warrantless access to the communications of tens of thousands of protesters, racial justice activists, 19,000 donors to a congressional campaign, journalists, and members of the U.S. Congress. Even after the FBI’s recent changes to its internal procedures, the abuses have continued, with agents conducting warrantless searches for the communications of a U.S. senator, a state senator, and a state court judge who contacted the FBI to report civil rights violations by a local police chief. NSA agents, for their part, have abused the authority to search for the communications of online dating prospects and potential tenants.
The Brennan Center joins more than 30 civil society organizations in opposing the inclusion of Section 702 reauthorization in the continuing resolution or other must-pass legislation.