Sunday, February 28, 2021

Garamendi Concurs with Federal Court Ruling that NSA U.S. Phone Metadata Collection an Overreach in Violation of 4th Amendment

Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA), a cosponsor of legislation to prevent the abuse of surveillance powers, today concurred with District Court Judge Richard J. Leon’s ruling that the National Security Agency’s (NSA) bulk metadata collection of phone records of people residing within U.S. borders is likely an overreach of their authority and a violation of the Fourth Amendment. Given the significance of the ruling, Judge Leon stayed his ruling to give the government time to appeal.

Congressman Garamendi is a cosponsor of the bipartisan and bicameral USA FREEDOM Act, H.R. 3361/S. 1599, which would ‚Äúrein in the dragnet collection of data by the NSA and other government agencies, increase transparency of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Courts, provide businesses the ability to release information regarding FISA requests, and create an independent advocate to argue cases before the FISA Courts.‚ÄĚ

In his decision, Federal District Court Judge Leon wrote, ‚ÄúI cannot imagine a more ‚Äėindiscriminate‚Äô and ‚Äėarbitrary‚Äô invasion than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval. Surely, such a program infringes on ‚Äėthat degree of privacy‚Äô that the founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúThe more I learn about the NSA‚Äôs bulk metadata collection program, the more concerns I have,‚ÄĚ Congressman Garamendi said. ‚ÄúIn the interests of keeping America safe from external threats, the NSA has instituted a catchall data collection program which I believe to be an extraordinary overreach of their power, in violation of the Fourth Amendment and beyond any intent of Congress.‚ÄĚ

Garamendi continued, ‚ÄúThis dragnet program alone is an unwarranted intrusion into Americans‚Äô lives, but coupled with other NSA programs that have recently been made public, it raises serious concerns about the state of privacy in our country. Today‚Äôs ruling is a positive step towards protecting our rights to privacy enshrined in the Fourth Amendment and I hope next year that Congress takes a serious look at these programs.‚ÄĚ


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