Today, Congressman Beto O'Rourke (TX-16) joined Congressman John Conyers (MI-13) and Congressman Justin Amash (MI-3) in introducing the LIBERT-E Act. This bipartisan legislation would protect the privacy rights of Americans by limiting the National Security Agency's (NSA) surveillance program by requiring a clear link between an authorized investigation and the data being collected and bringing transparency to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court.
"I am deeply troubled by the revelation that the government has been collecting information on its citizens. I believe the U.S. government should not have access to our phone records or email without probable cause or even a reasonable suspicion," said Congressman O'Rourke. "No threat of terrorism should warrant spying on ordinary Americans. The LIBERT-E Act will curb some of this unwarranted surveillance, help answer questions about the secretive FISA court, and ensure that our civil liberties are protected."
The LIBERT-E Act would amend Section 215 of the Patriot Act which requires the government to prove that the information they collect relates to a foreign intelligence or terrorism investigation. It would change the current "relevance" standard to "specific and articulable" facts that show information collected is "relevant material" to an authorized investigation and that the data pertains only to individuals under investigation. In addition, it would require the federal government to release significant opinions of the FISA court, which to date has operated in complete secrecy from the American public.