WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) released the following statement on his vote last night against the USA Freedom Act, legislation which reauthorizes intelligence gathering authorities under the PATRIOT Act and is intended to rein the National Security Agency’s telephone metadata bulk collection and storage program.
“Under the PATRIOT Act, the National Security Agency has committed gross overreaches in mass surveillance on the American people. I recognize and commend the good intentions behind the USA Freedom Act to reign in these abuses. Unfortunately, this bill does not go far enough and could jeopardize the reforms that we need to adequately protect American’s civil liberties.
“The circumstances behind this legislation are complicated by a federal court decision from May 7, 2015, which ruled that National Security Agency’s telephone metadata bulk collection and storage program was operating outside of the law. In light of that ruling, the USA Freedom Act could actually re-expose Americans to domestic spying, however limited in scope it may be. As well-intentioned as this bill is, it may ultimately achieve the opposite of its intent, which is why I cannot support it.”
Congressman Grijalva has been a strong proponent of protecting civil liberties and opposing unjustified spying under the PATRIOT Act. In April he released a statement opposing a reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act without strong reforms to protect Americans.