June 20, 2014

Wyden Congratulates House on Bipartisan Vote to Ban Backdoor Searches

Washington, D.C. – Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., issued the following statement today, praising the House vote last night to ban backdoor searches:

“Last night the House of Representatives took a big step forward for Americans’ privacy rights by voting to prohibit intelligence agencies from deliberately reading Americans’ emails and private communications without a warrant.  As Americans learned last summer, the NSA is currently scooping up a potentially huge number of Americans’ emails, under an authority that was intended to be used against foreigners. 

In March, the Director of National Intelligence confirmed in a letter to me that intelligence agencies are deliberately using this authority to conduct warrantless searches for the communications of individual Americans, effectively creating a back door around the Fourth Amendment. 

If there is evidence that a particular American is involved in terrorism or other nefarious activity, then intelligence and law enforcement agencies should absolutely investigate that person aggressively, by showing that evidence to a judge and getting a warrant. These searches are skirting the Constitution without making Americans any safer.  I’ll be urging my colleagues in the Senate to follow the House’s lead. It is time to slam this back door shut. “