Washington — In a spirited bipartisan late night defense of the 4th Amendment, Reps Thomas Massie, Republican of Kentucky and Zoe Lofgren, Democrat of California offerred an amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill that would restore provisions of the recently passed USA Freedom Act that prohibit warrantless surveillance of Americans by the NSA.  

Rep. Massie explained that, as originally introduced, the USA Freedom Act, in reforming Section 702 of FISA would have prevented “back door” use of inadvertently collected information on innocent Americans. Then, after passage out of the Committees, surveillance search terms were broadened behind closed doors before the full House vote on the bill.

Rep. Lofgren recalled the Director of National Intelligence’s confirmation that mass searches of Americans’ emails and phone calls in fact is a reality.   She then listed some of the many prominent Members “all over this House of Representatives from right to left” that say “Yes, protect our country, but also honor the 4th Amendment” and its protection against government searches without due process of law.

The amendment passed the House overwhelmingly 293-123, giving a huge boost to reform efforts to be considered next in the Senate.  The Defense Appropriations Act will be voted on as a whole in the House today.