For seven years the NSA has been collecting and storing the metadata of every phone call made in the United States. The Defending Dissent Foundation believes this program violates the Fourth Amendment and should be stopped. Members of Congress should support the amendment, and the Defending Dissent Foundation supporters are urged to take action here.
The Amash amendment to the Defense Appropriation bill (H.R. 2397) is an important first step to rein in the recently revealed program. The administration has confirmed that Section 215 of the Patriot Act has been broadly interpreted to allow the NSA to collect and store data of phone calls made in the United States that are not connected to any investigation.
While the administration initially tried to explain away the program by promising that the information was rarely used, recent testimony instead confirmed the opposite – that the database is searched and people many times removed from any suspected terrorist are caught up in government surveillance programs.
This amendment would not stop all NSA surveillance activities. However it makes an important first step of saying that this particular authority can only be used to collect information on those who are actually the subject of an investigation. It should begin to shield every day Americans from the Patriot Act dragnet while allowing the government to use it in a more common sense and targeted manner.
The Defending Dissent Foundation urges Members of Congress to support the Amash amendment. We caution members to beware that a decoy amendment has been introduced by Rep. Rich Nugent (R-FL), which only serves to reinforce current law and all its excesses. DDF urges members to vote against the Nugent amendment.