Dozens of mostly left-leaning organizations are urging Congress to restrict the ability of the CIA and FBI to review the communications of American citizens in contact with foreign suspects, outlines a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
The letter is from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union, R Street, the NAACP, the Arab American Institute, the Brennan Center for Justice, Moveon.org, the National LGBTQ Task Force and many other groups.
Their letter is addressed to Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and other lawmakers concerning Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008.
The law allows law enforcement authorities to sweep up communications of foreign individuals outside the United States.
But it also snares information on Americans who are in contact with those individuals.
The groups tell Goodlatte a proposed requirement of a warrant for searches of information on any “American criminal suspects” doesn’t go far enough.
“While full details regarding the bill have not yet been made, the undersigned groups write to express our concern that the reform as described … would leave the so-called ‘backdoor search loophole’ wide open. We urge you to ensure that any reform proposal include a full fix requiring all agencies to obtain a warrant based on probable cause to search Section 702 data for information about U.S. citizens and residents in all investigations.”
The organizations assert “this type of mass collection alone is unconstitutional.”
“The backdoor search loophole infringes American rights further – allowing agencies to warrantlessly search through 702-collected data by using search terms that describe U.S. persons. These terms could include names, email addresses, and more,” the groups write.
The organizations declare the practice “needs to end.”
They insist the proposal before Congress “to require warrants on backdoor searches used only in criminal investigations – as recently reported by the New York Times – does not go far enough.”
The letter says proposed changes ignore “the fact that the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement is not limited to criminal or non-national security related cases.”