April 28, 2017

Wyden Statement on NSA Ending Collection of Americans’ Emails About Surveillance Targets Under FISA 702

Washington, D.C. – Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., issued the following statement in response to the National Security Agency’s announcement it will no longer sweep up emails that are merely about foreign surveillance targets, under the FISA 702 program.

"This change ends a practice that could result in Americans' communications being collected without a warrant merely for mentioning a foreign target,” Wyden said. “For years, I've repeatedly raised concerns that this amounted to an end run around the Fourth Amendment. This transparency should be commended. To permanently protect Americans' rights, I intend to introduce legislation banning this kind of collection in the future."

This “about” collection is one of several areas of surveillance under FISA Section 702 that Sen. Wyden has raised as threatening Americans’ liberties. He has repeatedly called on the executive branch to finally reveal how many Americans have their phone calls, emails and other communications swept up – without warrants – under this surveillance program, which is intended to target people overseas.

Wyden and former Sen. Mark Udall originally asked for this number in 2011. He renewed his request in 2012, and pushed the executive branch to reveal in 2014 that the NSA, CIA and FBI search for Americans’ communications without obtaining a warrant.

Wyden has spent six years seeking how many law-abiding Americans have their calls and messages swept up under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The program expires at the end of this year, but Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats called renewing Section 702 his top legislative priority this year.