USA FREEDOM Act: Broad, Bipartisan Support from Companies, Civil Society, and the Intelligence Community Alike

Blog Post
Nov. 17, 2014

It has been over a year and a half since America first began to learn about the broad scope of the NSA’s surveillance programs. After months of careful negotiation, the USA FREEDOM Act (S. 2685) was introduced in the Senate last July to rein in the government’s domestic surveillance programs and prohibit bulk collection of Americans’ records. Tomorrow, the bill will come up for its first procedural vote, and it must garner the support of 60 Senators in order to proceed to the debate and amendment stage.

USA FREEDOM is supported by a broad coalition of individuals, companies, and groups that is historic in its bipartisan nature and diverse interests. That support spans representatives of Congress from both sides of the aisle, all elements of the Intelligence Community, the Reform Government Surveillance coalition (which includes 10 of America’s leading tech companies), major tech industry trade associations, and dozens of advocacy organizations ranging from the NRA to the ACLU.

It is critical that Senators heed their constituents who have stated publicly in no uncertain terms that they want to see the USA FREEDOM Act become law. Below, and available as a PDF here, is list of supporters including those in the Administration, Congress, tech industry, trade associations, and right-side and left-side advocacy groups, along with links to letters, op-eds, and other statements of support.


Recent Op-Eds and Letters of Support:

President Obama Statement of Administration Support (SAP): President Obama issued a SAP stating that the “Administration strongly supports Senate passage of S. 2685, the USA FREEDOM Act. In January, the President called on Congress to enact important changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that would keep our Nation safe, while enhancing privacy and better safeguarding our civil liberties,” and echoing the Attorney General and Director of National Intelligence’s assurances that the bill would not interfere with the Intelligence Community’s operational capabilities.

Administration and Intelligence Community Support: Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Attorney General Eric Holder wrote to Senator Leahy voicing support for the USA FREEDOM Act, stating that it will “accommodate operation needs while providing appropriate protections,” and confirming that it bans bulk collection, increases transparency, and reforms the FISA Court.

Members of Congress:
House Judiciary Chairman, Representative Goodlatte, supports passing of the USA FREEDOM Act, and issued a press release stating that, “I agree with Senator Wyden and the tech community that last year’s national security leaks have had a commercial and financial impact on American technology companies,” and that “[w]hen the Senate returns in November, it must pass the USA Freedom Act in order to protect Americans’ civil liberties and to ensure that American tech companies can begin to rebuild trust with their customers and flourish in the global economy.”

Representative Sensenbrenner also strongly supports the USA FREEDOM Act, writing to Senate leadership to tell them that he fully endorses the bill, that it institutes necessary reforms, and that “it would be a critical mistake not to take advantage of this coalition” and pass the USA FREEDOM Act this Congress.

Representative Conyers and House Judiciary Democrats released a statement of support for the USA FREEDOM Act, calling it “critical legislation” that “reinforces our commitment to protecting the civil liberties and rights of all Americans.”

Major News Organizations:
New York Times: The New York Times published an op-ed strongly supporting passage of the USA FREEDOM Act, calling it “a good way to begin restoring individual privacy that has been systematically violated by government spying.”The Editorial board cautioned that with its rising Libertarian wing, “[t]he Republican Party is so badly fractured that it is impossible to tell what steps it will take on domestic surveillance once it assumes control of Congress in January,” but given Republican leadership’s support of the Intelligence Community’s surveillance programs, reform will likely be watered down in the next Congress if it is not passed now.

Washington Post: The Washington Post endorsed passage of the USA FREEDOM Act, calling it, “the most promising National Security Agency reform proposal before Congress,” and warns that “[a]s the Senate works on the proposal over the coming days, it should preserve that delicate and authentic compromise,” such as amendments that would weaken or undermine the bill’s reforms.

LA Times: The LA Times endorsed the USA FREEDOM Act, and noted that “[t]o the extent that searches of metadata do enhance U.S. intelligence, they can still be conducted under the Leahy bill — but with privacy safeguards written into the law.”

Civil Society Organizations:
A broad coalition of dozens of right-side, technology, civil and human rights, and transparency organizations have written multiple letters to Congress supporting the USA FREEDOM Act, stating that it “would meaningfully amend the laws that authorize some of the most deeply concerning domestic records collection programs,” by prohibiting bulk collection, increasing transparency, and reforming the secret FISA Court.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) also issued a strong statement of support, calling the USA FREEDOM Act “a positive step toward protecting the privacy of innocent Americans and ensuring that surveillance activities are properly and narrowly focused on actual threats to the nation’s security.”

American Tech Industry and Trade Associations
Reform Government Surveillance, ITI, BSA, SIIA, CCIA: Major U.S. technology and Internet companies came out in strong support of the USA FREEDOM Act. The Reform Government Surveillance Coalition, on behalf of AOL, Apple, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter, and Yahoo!, along with four leading tech industry trade associations, wrote a letter to Senate leadership urging support for the USA FREEDOM Act, stating that it “will send a clear signal to the international community and to the American people that government surveillance programs are narrowly tailored, transparent, and subject to oversight,” and that the USA FREEDOM Act’s reforms “are necessary to help restore public trust in both the U.S. government and the U.S. technology sector, as well as to continue the innovative and competitive success of the American tech sector in global markets.”

Consumer Electronics Association (CEA): CEA wrote a letter to the Senate and an editorial strongly supporting passage of the USA FREEDOM Act, saying that it will allow businesses “to be able to send a clear message to consumers in the U.S. and abroad that their private information is theirs alone.”


This list is a compilation of Administration officials, companies and trade associations, and nationwide civil society organizations that have signed letters or issues public statements of support. It illustrates the broad support the USA FREEDOM Act enjoys, and is not comprehensive.

Administration and Intelligence Community
President Obama
Director of National Intelligence Clapper
Attorney General Holder

Major News Organizations
LA Times
New York Times
Washington Post

Companies and Trade Associations
Reform Government Surveillance (AOL, Apple, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter, and Yahoo!)
Business Software Alliance (BSA)
Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA)
Information Technology Industry Council (ITI)
Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA)
Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)

Civil Society Groups:
Right Side Groups
Hon. Bob Barr, former Congressman
Center for Effective Government
Competitive Enterprise Institute, Inc.
Libertarian Party
Liberty Coalition
National Rifle Association (NRA)
R Street Institute
Republican Liberty Caucus
Rutherford Institute

Tech and Digital Rights Groups
Campaign for Digital Fourth Amendment Rights
Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT)
Cyber Privacy Project
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
New America’s Open Technology Institute (OTI)
Public Knowledge
Student Net Alliance

Civil and Human Rights, and Transparency and Oversight Groups
Advocacy for Principled Action in Government
Alliance for Global Justice
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
American Association of Law Libraries
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
American Library Association (ALA)
Arab American Institute
Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries
Association of Research Libraries
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Brennan Center for Justice
Campaign for Reader Privacy
Center for Media and Democracy/The Progressive
Center for National Security Studies (CNSS)
Charity & Security Network
Citizen Outreach
Constitution Alliance
The Constitution Project
Council on American Islamic Relations
Defending Dissent Foundation
Free Press Action Fund
Freedom of the Press Foundation
Generation Opportunity
Government Accountability Project (GAP)
Human Rights Watch
Immigrant Support Network
James Madison Project
Media Alliance
Medical Library Association
National Coalition Against Censorship
National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms
National Immigrant Solidarity Network
National Lawyers Guild
National Network for Arab American Communities
National Security Counselors
PEN American Center
Project On Government Oversight (POGO)