January 18, 2018

Udall Votes to Protect Americans from Warrantless Spying

Opposes 6-year renewal of FISA Section 702 without reforms

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall voted against a six-year renewal of the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act (FISA) Section 702 because it was not reformed to protect Americans from warrantless spying. FISA Section 702 authorizes the government to collect the emails, phone records and other communication of foreigners overseas without obtaining a warrant, but a backdoor loophole allows Americans who communicate with 702 targets to also be subject to warrantless surveillance. Udall released the following statement:

“Seventeen years ago, I voted against the PATRIOT Act because I feared our government was opening the door to gross violations of Americans’ constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties. And 10 years ago, I opposed passage of the FISA Amendments Act and the creation of the 702 program because of the possibility that they would further erode constitutional protections. Unfortunately, my fears turned out to be well-founded. Targeting foreign threats is an essential duty of the Intelligence Community — but the 702 program has been used as a license to conduct secret and warrantless spying on Americans’ private communications. The Constitution is clear: it guarantees Americans the right to privacy. The Founders were rightly concerned about preventing the government from spying on its citizens without a warrant. So it is chilling that the House and Senate majority marched forward with today’s vote to reauthorize the program without even allowing debate or amendments to protect Americans’ constitutional rights.

“As I have long said, the American people deserve a transparent debate on the programs the government is carrying out in their name — and the government must make its own case for its surveillance programs. The United States does not need to choose between keeping our nation safe and safeguarding the constitutional rights of the American people, and we should stop acting as if we do.”