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(WASHINGTON, D.C., 10/29/13) Today, Americans have been given the first sign of hope that Congress will put a stop to the National Security Agency's (NSA) massive domestic phone and internet surveillance programs and restore the privacy rights of all citizens with the introduction of the bipartisan USA FREEDOM Act.
Only Congress can put an end to NSA's secret collection of Americans' phone records and internet activities -- programs backed by President Obama and some elected officials. The once covert data mining programs were revealed over the summer by former NSA contractor and whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
Act sponsors, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee Chairman Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), pledge the act will:
"End the dragnet collection of Americans' phone records under Section 215 of The USA PATRIOT Act and ensure that other authorities cannot be used to justify similar dragnet collection" and "provide more safeguards for warrantless surveillance under the FISA Amendments Act."
The bill also includes other "significant privacy and oversight provisions, provides for the creation of a Special Advocate to focus on the protection of privacy rights and civil liberties before the FISA Court, and requires more detailed public reporting about the numbers and types of FISA orders that are issued."
While the USA FREEDOM Act is co-sponsored by 16 senators and more than 70 House Representatives, the act still needs to build additional momentum in Congress to prevail against NSA-surveillance state supporters.
CAIR has provided a "click and send" letter for all Americans to call on Congress to urge support for the USA FREEDOM Act and an immediate end to abusive and unconstitutional government spying programs. Please sign the letter to send it your representatives in Congress.
Last July, a similar bipartisan amendment introduced by Representatives Justin Amash (R-MI) and John Conyers (D-MI) lost by only 12 votes on the House floor. The amendment would have striped from the NSA any money used to monitor the communications of Americans not already the subject of an ongoing investigation.
Now is the time to build congressional support for the USA FREEDOM Act before it comes to a vote. Make sure your member of Congress is a co-sponsor of the USA FREEDOM Act and a supporter of American privacy rights -- not the NSA-surveillance state.