False #Resistance Leader is Empowering Trump’s Ability to Spy on Americans, Subverting Congress and the Constitution
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Daniel Schuman, policy director, Demand Progress, 240-237-3930
Washington, D.C.—The House of Representatives will consider in the next day or so a House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence surveillance bill that civil society—from progressives to conservatives, liberals to libertarians—universally derides as a fundamental attack on the Fourth Amendment rights of every American and an expansion of unlawful domestic surveillance.
Just Tuesday evening, the House Rules Committee published the text of the manager’s amendment to the House Intelligence Bill, H.R. 4478, and the tax bill passed earlier today waived the procedural protections that give Members of Congress three legislative days to read a bill and requires a 2/3s majority before suspending House rules.
“This is an outrageous flouting of regular order in the House of Representatives and a short-circuiting of the debate necessary to ensure that our rights are given at least as much consideration as the desire of intelligence agencies to spy on everyone,” said Daniel Schuman, policy director, Demand Progress.
Rep. Adam Schiff, ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, has championed the legislation (absent a tiny provision) and actively undermined the proper consideration of surveillance reform measures in the House.
“Rep. Adam Schiff plays on national TV as a leader of the Democratic #resistance, but his unrelenting push to expand Pres. Trump’s domestic surveillance powers at the expense of the Constitution and in the face of a lawless administration puts our very democracy at risk,” said Daniel Schuman, policy director at Demand Progress. “Adam Schiff is enabling Donald Trump’s worst impulses.”
The FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017 is a wolf disguised as a wolf. Among many other dangers, it—
– Codifies the government’s practice of warrantlessly searching Americans’ communications, which is illegal.
– Permits Section 702 information to be used in criminal cases that have nothing to do with national security, without a warrant.
– Codifies “abouts” collection rather than halting the practice, which the NSA was forced to stop at the insistence of the FISA Court because the agency failed to comply with privacy protections.
In an October 3rd letter, 34 progressive organizations described the threat that Donald Trump poses:
“The presidency of Donald Trump is an existential threat to the well-being of all Americans. He has repeatedly attacked communities of color and immigrants, created false equivalencies between neo-nazis and social justice advocates in an attempt to delegitimize the latter, and engaged in authoritarian behavior that is a grave threat to our democratic norms. We must deny him access to tools that likely will be used to further discriminatory ends or be employed to undermine democracy if we are to have any hope of successfully resisting his assaults on our communities and our values.”
In a November 30, 2017 letter, a bipartisan group of 36 organizations, from the ACLU to FreedomWorks, from the NAACP to TechFreedom, explained their strong opposition to the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act:
“The proposed bill is not a reform measure. It does not make “key changes to Section 702 and other intelligence authorities to protect Americans’ privacy rights,” as bill sponsors have suggested. On the contrary, it would expand surveillance under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), grant the government more authority under other provisions of FISA, and could be read to codify current unlawful surveillance practices. Indeed, the bill is measurably worse than a short-term straight reauthorization of Section 702 with a sunset.”
“No Member of Congress—and especially no Democrat—should entrust President Trump and Attorney General Sessions with the power to spy on every single American absent the basic checks and balances that children learn about in grade school. These powers are too immense for any president, and certainly too great for this president. Donald Trump is an existential threat to our democracy, and Rep. Adam Schiff is endangering our democracy by putting virtually unlimited surveillance powers in the hands of an unstable president,” said Daniel Schuman.