On Wednesday, Congressman Andy Biggs (R-AZ) applauded the House Judiciary Committee for advancing his major legislation to end the warrantless surveillance of Americans. The Committee passed H.R. 6570, the Protect Liberty and End Warrantless Surveillance Act (PLEWSA), in a 35-2 vote.
The PLEWSA overhauls Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and requires a warrant for all U.S. person searches. FISA 702 authorizes the federal government to intercept electric communications of non-U.S. persons who are located outside of the United States. But, the communications of Americans are often swept up when monitoring foreign persons, are kept by the intelligence agencies, and can be later accessed without a warrant. This type of backdoor surveillance has been going on for decades and allows for rampant abuse of the FISA authorities. The legislation additionally reforms the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and closes loopholes that allow the federal government to purchase Americans’ data from Big Tech companies without a warrant.
“I am grateful to my colleagues for advancing one of the most consequential pieces of legislation ever related to ending government surveillance abuse,” said Congressman Biggs.
“The overwhelming, bipartisan vote in favor of this legislation confirms a mutual interest in protecting our Fourth Amendment privacy rights from rogue intelligence actors. Our FISA 702 spying authorities must be used for national security purposes—not nefarious ones.
“I urge Speaker Johnson to immediately bring this legislation to the House Floor for a vote and call on my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this package. Any effort to stall consideration or pass a clean extension of the current FISA authorities is a punishment of the American people.”
The legislation may be read here.
Current cosponsors of the legislation are: Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH), Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-CA), Rep. Russell Fry (R-SC), Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), Rep. Eli Crane (R-AZ), and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA).
Statements in support of the legislation may be found here.