RELEASE: Rep. Cloud Statement on his plan to oppose reauthorization of Section 702 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) authority.

Feb 14, 2024
Press

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Michael Cloud (R-TX) released the following statement on his plan to oppose reauthorization of Section 702 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) authority, which the U.S. House of Representatives is negotiating and expected to vote on within the coming weeks:

“Through all the debate over reauthorization of the FISA program, there is only one principle that truly matters: spying on Americans citizens without a warrant is a violation of our Constitutional rights. It is not ambiguous. Whether you’re a Democrat, a Republican, or an Independent, you have a Constitutional right to privacy against warrantless government surveillance – and the current FISA program, as well as the House bill reauthorizing it, lack critical protections to defend your rights.

Support for privacy rights is widespread and bipartisan. Surveys suggest nearly 4 in 5 Americans believe privacy protections against warrantless government surveillance should be expanded. Moreover, there are countless real-world examples of the Intelligence Community abusing FISA authority against American citizens, including small dollar donors to political campaigns, surveilling a local political party in 2021, and even queries on places of worship. Of course, many will remember the most documented instance of surveillance abuse, where the intelligence community infamously abused its FISA authority to surveil members of the 2016 Trump campaign based on shoddy, illegitimate evidence. These are unacceptable and not representative of a government by the people and for the people.

Our first job in Congress is to keep the people free. We must ensure the rights of the American people are protected, and reauthorizing FISA authority without significant reforms would fail to do that. Should a bill come to the floor that keeps the current system intact, I will strongly oppose it.”

While the U.S. House was expected to vote on reauthorization of the FISA program this week, the vote has been postponed to give more time for negotiations. The House Freedom Caucus, of which Rep. Cloud is a member, is pushing for significant privacy reforms that prevent warrantless searches of Americans. 

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