June 21, 2016

Wyden Statement on Amendment to Expand Warrantless FBI Spying

Lose-Lose Proposal Does Nothing to Stop Terrorists; Removes Court Oversight

Washington, D.C. –Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today slammed a new amendment that would let the FBI demand broad amounts of Americans’ digital data without any court oversight.

 “Yesterday the Senate rejected measures that would help keep guns out of the hands of terrorists and lone gunmen. Instead, Senate Republicans are pushing fake, knee-jerk solutions that will do nothing to prevent mass shootings or terrorist attacks. Like so many other proposals this amendment is a lose-lose: It won’t make our country safer, but it will take away crucial checks and balances that protect our freedom,” Wyden said.  

“If this proposal passes, FBI agents will be able to demand the records of what websites you look at online, who you email and chat with, and your text message logs, with no judicial oversight whatsoever. The reality is the FBI already has the power to demand these electronic records with a court order under the Patriot Act. In emergencies the FBI can even obtain the records right away and go to a judge after the fact. This isn’t about giving law-enforcement new tools, it’s about the FBI not wanting to do paperwork.”

Wyden opposed a similar provision that was attached to the 2017 Senate Intelligence Authorization bill last month, saying it “takes a hatchet to important protections for Americans liberty.”