WASHINGTON, D.C. ---Today Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) issued the following statement on the passage of an amendment to defund two surveillance “backdoors” that currently allow intelligence agencies access to Americans’ private data and correspondence without a warrant. The amendment was included in the Fiscal Year 2016 Department of Defense appropriations bill (H.R. 2685) and passed with an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 255-174. Poe was joined by Reps. Massie, Lofgren, Sensenbrenner, Conyers, Gabbard, Jordan, O’Rourke, Amash, Pocan, Nadler, DelBene, Farenthold, Sanford, Collins, Lieu and Labrador. Congressman Poe is also the lead sponsor of an identical standalone bill, the End Warrantless Surveillance of Americans Act (H.R. 2233).
The amendment shuts one “backdoor” by prohibiting warrantless searches of government databases for information that pertains to U.S. citizens. It also prohibits the NSA and CIA from placing “backdoors” into commercial products.
“Congress should act now to stop warrantless searches under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA),” said Rep. Poe. “Right now, under Section 702 the government is allowed to snoop and spy on the content of a citizen’s phone calls, texts and emails---all without a warrant. Failure to address this gaping loophole in FISA leaves the constitutional rights of millions of Americans vulnerable and unprotected. The NSA has and will continue to violate the constitutional protections guaranteed to every American unless Congress intervenes. Until we fix this and make the law clear, citizens can never be sure that their private conversations are safe from the eyes of the government.”