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NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake Statement on Surveillance Legislation

At this late hour (with all the fear mongering by national security authorities pushing to reauthorize and expand an unconstitutional warrantless surveillance program), unless the Amash-Lofgren Amendment is passed, Congress may end up passing a bill (S. 139) that actually gives criminal suspects more Fourth Amendment protections than innocent people.

I urge all Americans who care about their privacy rights protected by the Fourth Amendment to call their Representative in Congress and tell them to vote for the Amash-Lofgren amendment instead and the proposed USA RIGHTS Act.

The USA RIGHTS Act reforms Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by ending the pernicious and pervasive mass surveillance practice that licenses the secret backdoor warrantless searches and data mining of US person calls, emails, texts and other Internet and digital communications under the cover and color of spying on foreign targets.

I blew the whistle right after 9/11 on the original mass domestic warrantless electronic surveillance program known as STELLARWIND, and its secret subversion of privacy rights protected by the Constitution and paid a very high price for doing so.

This reauthorization bill just further codifies and expands the mass surveillance regime under the guise of protecting people by stripping their privacy protections.

National security does not trump our inalienable rights as a people, especially when the government want to “collect it all to know it all” and bypass the rule of law for secret executive rules to keep us safe from ourselves using legislative acts to make it all legal.