OTI Dismayed at House Intelligence Committee's Abdication of its Oversight Authority on Section 702

Photo: Flickr -- USCapitol

Today, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence voted 12-8 to approve the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017 (H.R. 4478), its bill to reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) for four years, and to expand surveillance under all FISA authorities, including Section 702. OTI strongly opposes the bill.

The following statement on today’s markup can be attributed to Robyn Greene, policy counsel and government affairs lead at New America’s Open Technology Institute:

“The House Intelligence Committee abdicated its responsibility to the public in its oversight and consideration of Section 702 reauthorization in today’s markup. Without holding a single public hearing on Section 702, the committee rushed through consideration of a bill that was released less than two days ago. In spite of how controversial and harmful to privacy Section 702 is, members didn’t debate the authority at all. Instead, they spent the entire markup fighting along party lines over partisan politicized issues that are unrelated to the most privacy-invasive provisions of the surveillance authority. No member of the Committee proposed an amendment to the bill to strengthen the privacy safeguards in  Section 702.

“Representatives Speier, Carson, Castro, and Heck rose above the fray, and stood up for Americans’ civil liberties when they voiced their opposition to the bill on privacy grounds. We applaud their principled stance in opposition to this terrible bill. They showed what real oversight should look like, and other members should follow their lead.”