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Jayapal Co-Leads Bipartisan Letter to Protect Americans’ Privacy

WASHINGTON— U.S. Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and Warren Davidson (OH-08) sent a bipartisan letter to Attorney General William Barr and Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe today, seeking clarification on current surveillance practices since the March expiration of the USA Freedom Act, which includes the business records (Section 215), roving wiretap and lone wolf authorities.

In order for Congress to conduct its oversight responsibilities, Congress and the American people must know the extent of the government’s surveillance programs and which authorities they rely on. The letter refers to multiple incidences where U.S. intelligence agencies circumvented the will of Congress, violating Americans’ Fourth Amendment right to privacy and agencies’ own internal guidelines in conducting illegal surveillance. Reps. Davidson and Jayapal also question the extent to which the federal government is collecting Americans’ internet search and browser history data.

“We should all be concerned about the state of every American’s Fourth Amendment right to privacy if this administration is operating any surveillance on U.S. citizens without express Congressional authorization and oversight,” said Congresswoman Jayapal. “We need a clear public explanation of the guidance issued to federal agencies to confirm that the administration is not illegally surveilling the American people.” 

“I look forward to a prompt response from Attorney General Barr and Director Ratcliffe. It is of utmost importance that we verify that U.S. intelligence agencies are abiding by the Constitution and upholding Americans’ right to privacy,” said Congressman Davidson. “Given recent history, Americans are entitled to know that, in the absence of Section 215, their Fourth Amendment rights are secure.”

Thirty-nine representatives joined Jayapal and Davidson in signing the letter.

The full letter is available here.