Leahy And Lee REAX To House Judiciary Approval Of Key Reforms To Section 702 Surveillance Authorities

[On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee reported the USA Liberty Act, sponsored by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), and by Crime Subcommittee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and Ranking Member Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas).  The legislation, which reauthorizes and reforms Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments Act, was approved by a vote of 27-8 and will now be reported to the House Floor.  Last Congress, Senators Lee and Leahy partnered with the same House Judiciary leaders to pass the historic USA FREEDOM Act, which ended NSA bulk metadata collection and contained significant reforms to other surveillance authorities.  Senator Lee and Senator Leahy together released the following statement:]

We applaud the House Judiciary Committee and its Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Ranking Member John Conyers for advancing legislation that would reauthorize Section 702 surveillance authorities with some important improvements.  The bill codifies an end to “about” collection, closes a loophole that allows this national security tool to be used for standard domestic criminal investigations without a warrant, and contains many other provisions to protect the privacy and civil liberty interests of Americans.  This bill is part of a promising, bipartisan effort to provide some long-overdue reforms to this surveillance authority.

Just as we did last Congress, we are working with both House Judiciary Committee leaders as well as with leading voices in the Senate, such as Senator Dianne Feinstein, to introduce our own strong reform bill in the Senate in the near term.

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