Sending Office: Honorable Ted Lieu
Don’t Let the Scare Tactics Mislead You
As a veteran who served on active duty, I believe that when it comes to foreign terrorists, we need to track them down and kill them. I support using the awesome powers of our intelligence agencies to spy on foreigners on foreign soil, which is the basis
for FISA Section 702. But when it comes to spying on Americans, we must follow the Constitution. For far too long, FISA Section 702 has been perverted to allow warrantless, unconstitutional spying on Americans. Unfortunately, the FISA Amendments Reauthorization
Act from Chairman Devin Nunes does not adequately fix Section 702 and in some respects makes the problem worse.
That is why I support the USA RIGHTS Amendment to the Nunes bill. This bipartisan amendment makes FISA Section 702 comply with the Constitution by requiring a warrant before the extraordinary powers of our intelligence agencies can be used on Americans.
Not only is this common sense, it is required by the Fourth Amendment.
Do not let the scare tactics mislead you. This issue has nothing to do with terrorism or stopping terrorism. It has to do with whether or not warrantless information can be used against Americans. For example, suppose a foreigner who
is under Section 702 warrantless surveillance decides to call his innocent American friend and during the conversation the American talks about how he likes to smoke marijuana. Under both current law and the Nunes bill, there is nothing to prevent the FBI
from using the marijuana information—which the FBI got without a warrant—to open a new investigation and then prosecute the American for marijuana use. That is flat out unconstitutional.
The Nunes bill also makes the situation worse by establishing an unnecessarily long sunset date of six years, plus it codifies a procedure that has twice failed Fourth Amendment scrutiny by the FISA Court. All of us had to do one thing before we could become
Members of Congress: take an oath to the Constitution. No government program – no matter how allegedly amazing or useful or brilliant – should be executed if it is unconstitutional. Full Stop.
Ted W. Lieu
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0