Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR-1) voted today against reauthorizing the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) Amendments Act. As a result of the Act, originally passed in 2008, the intelligence community may continue to monitor communications between Americans and anyone overseas. After the vote, Congresswoman Bonamici made the following statement:
"We must keep our country safe, but this reauthorization is not the way to do it. The FISA Amendments Act does not require any demonstration of probable cause; the simple act of participating in an international phone call or email is enough to warrant suspicion and surveillance, which could potentially violate the privacy of countless Americans. Under this Act, intelligence agencies can conduct surveillance on conversations of people believed to be outside the United States without definitively verifying whether the person on the other end of the conversation is an American citizen and without first obtaining a warrant as required by the Fourth Amendment.
"These actions are unfair, unwarranted, and wrong. It is unclear how many Americans have already been implicated and scrutinized by the Act's acceptance of all forms of surveillance despite requests from federal officials for that information.
"In an increasingly connected world, it is more important than ever that the American government find the proper balance between national security and protecting the privacy rights of its citizens. Without specific and substantial explanations of the Act's efforts to protect the information collected, I cannot support reauthorization."