House Judiciary Committee Advances ‘Protect Liberty and End Warrantless Surveillance Act’

Congress Speaker
AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

Republicans and Democrats overwhemingly voted on Wednesday to advance a bill that seeks to rein in deep state surveillance programs.

The House Judiciary Committee voted 35-2 to approve H.R. 6570, the Protect Liberty and End Warrantless Surveillance Act.

The Protect Liberty and End Warrantless Surveillance Act (PLEWSA)  would require a warrant for any American’s information sought under Section 702. The program does not currently require a warrant for such a search.

The legislation would also prohibit law enforcement and intelligence agencies from purchasing Americans’ private data through data brokers, a practice which has been known as the “data broker loophole.” Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and other lawmakers have decried this practice, believing it to be a run around the Fourth Amendment.

The Judiciary bill would also limit how many FBI agents can search the Section 702 database and would set up penalties for violations under FISA.

During the markup of the bill, Rep. Laurel Lee (R-FL) spoke about the need to reform Section 702.

“In its current form, Americans’ civil liberties are at risk of being violated,” she said.


Kia Hamadanchy, a senior policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), said in a written statement about the bill:

With so much of our lives taking place online, it’s more important than ever that we have the freedom to communicate without fear of government surveillance. This bipartisan bill is Congress’s best chance to ensure that Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful search and seizures are actually protected and to finally hold the government accountable for its constant abuse of Section 702. When the bill comes to the House floor, we urge every member of the House of Representatives to vote in favor of this critical legislation.

Reps. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Warren Davidson (R-OH), Sara Jacobs (D-CA), and Russell Fry (R-SC) sponsored the legislation.

Watch — Jim Jordan: There are 204K Reasons to Oppose FISA Reauthorization

House Committee on the Judiciary / YouTube

Privacy-oriented groups such as Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks, and Demand Progress support the bill.

Sean Moran is a policy reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.


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