Wisconsin congressman Mark Pocan is pushing for wholesale repeal of the 2001 Patriot Act. Pocan, a Democrat from Madison, and U.S. Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY) have introduced the Surveillance State Repeal Act. The bill would abolish the entire Patriot Act, along with the FISA Amendment Act of 2008, which contains provisions for email data harvesting, while overhauling the NSA’s domestic surveillance program.
The legislation also makes retaliation against federal national security whistleblowers – like former NSA contractor Edward Snowden – illegal. It also ensures any FISA collection against a American citizens takes place only pursuant to a valid warrant based on probable cause.
“Warrantless collection of millions of personal communications from innocent Americans is a direct violation of our constitutional right to privacy,” Pocan said. “Revelations about the NSA’s programs reveal the extraordinary extent to which the program has invaded Americans’ privacy. I reject the notion that we must sacrifice liberty for security- we can live in a secure nation which also upholds a strong commitment to civil liberties.”
“Our Founding Fathers fought and died to stop the kind of warrantless spying and searches that the Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act authorize,” said Massie. “It is long past time to repeal the Patriot Act and reassert the constitutional rights of all Americans. ”
Massie and Pocan discussed their legislation during a Capitol Hill briefing on Tuesday.