OpenTheGovernment.org and POGO Oppose Efforts to Further Weaken USA Freedom Act

Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act expired on Sunday, May 31 at midnight, several hours after the Senate voted 77 to 17 to begin debate on the USA Freedom Act. The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) and OpenTheGovernment.org expressed support for Congress’s refusal to re-authorize an illegal surveillance program without major reforms. Both organizations strongly oppose Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s attempts to further weaken the USA Freedom Act through the amendment process. Dr. Patrice McDermott, Executive Director of OpenTheGovernment.org, said: “instead of allowing a vote on a single amendment to strengthen the USA Freedom Act, Senator McConnell has introduced a series of attempts to weaken the bill. The Senate should decisively reject them all.”  Particularly harmful are the proposed amendments that would further weaken the bill’s Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) reforms, and eliminate the requirement that the Executive Branch declassify significant FISC opinions. Adoption of either amendment would cause POGO and OpenTheGovernment.org to oppose the bill. Danielle Brian, Executive Director of the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), added: “secret courts and secret laws are unacceptable in a democracy, and experience has shown that they cannot effectively protect our privacy.”

Submitted by khawkins on 06/01/2015