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Public Statements

FISA Amendments Act Reauthorization Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. ZOE LOFGREN of California. Mr. Speaker, I urge this body to reject this bill.

The surveillance bill raises several serious constitutional and civil liberties issues that Congress needs to address and has not addressed in this bill, and I'd like to discuss just one of those.

Congress should prohibit the Federal Government from intentionally searching for information on a U.S. person in a data pool amassed lawfully under section 702 of FISA--should such a data ever be amassed--unless the searching official has a warrant.

Now, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 does not make clear that the government must obtain a warrant prior to searching for information acquired incidentally on a U.S. person in a large pool of data that the government has already lawfully obtained under section 702, should such a data pool ever be amassed. Instead, the information about the U.S. person in such a situation is subject to minimization procedures adopted by the Attorney General, and that must be approved by the FISA court, but that does not explicitly include a warrant requirement, which I think the Constitution requires.

The prohibition on reverse-targeting--where the government deliberately targets a non-U.S. person for the purpose of acquiring information about the U.S. person at the other end of the line--is not a substitute for the warrant requirement to search a database for U.S. persons, should such a database ever be amassed under section 702. Minimization procedures are not a substitute for a warrant in such a case.

Now, I think that the government needs to comply

with the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution all the time. I think that the privacy of Americans should not be subject to the lower standard of minimization procedures. That's not in the Constitution. And I think, also, that when we think that we should trade the protections that our Founding Fathers devised for us in the United States Constitution in the effort to buy safety, we're mistaken. We can be safe while still complying with the Constitution of the United States.

I'm mindful that we began this Congress reading most of the United States Constitution on the floor of this House. It's ironic, indeed, that we should be ending this Congress with a bill that does violation to that very body.

I thank the gentleman for yielding.


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