Fitzpatrick Proposes NSA Reform Measures
LANGHORNE, PA – Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8) announced on a press call Monday the creation of legislation that would reform the surveillance practices at the National Security Agency while restoring the trust of Americans by defunding these programs should the law be broken in the future.
“This bill tells the NSA that if they unlawfully spy on Americans again, Congress will take away their funding,” said Fitzpatrick, “The bill also makes it clear that the NSA can only track Americans where strong evidence suggests they are doing wrong.”
The NSA Accountability Act of 2013 clarifies language in the PATRIOT Act, Section 215 by strengthening the procedures by which the government can obtain personal records.
The announcement comes days after the Washington Post revealed an audit of the NSA’s program from April 2011 to March 2012 which showed thousands of incidents of intentional and unintentional privacy breaches and overreaches within the program.
“What is most disturbing about these reports is that the NSA made a decision to hide the truth from Congress that Americans were spied on. Whether human or technical error, these instances should have been disclosed,” said Fitzpatrick, “These revelations further call into question the soundness of the Patriot Act, which did not earn my support specifically due to these concerns.”
Fitzpatrick voted in July to stop the program by supporting the Amash-Conyers Amendment to the 2014 Department of Defense Appropriations Bill; the amendment failed by a 205-217 vote. Fitzpatrick has long been an advocate for personal privacy- having voted against provisions in the PATRIOT Act in 2005 and 2011 which encroached on people’s rights to privacy.
“Our worst fears are starting to be realized and I feel that more may be learned in the coming months. The American people deserve to know all of the facts and I urge the President to lead on this issue,” said Fitzpatrick.
“This bill is a good step in assuring the American people that somebody is watching over the NSA and will hold them accountable,” continued Fitzpatrick. “We must ensure the program is operating under rules that respect the privacy of law-abiding Americans, while at the same time providing law enforcement the information they need to keep us safe.”
Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick is serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He represents Pennsylvania’s 8th district which includes all of Bucks County as well as a portion of Montgomery County. He serves as the Vice Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.