CEI Urges Senate to Reject Reauthorization of PATRIOT Act Without Reforms


View the full coalition letter here

CEI and 12 other free-market organizations are urging the Senate to reject the latest attempt to fast-track an unamended reauthorization of the USA PATRIOT Act without privacy reform:

In the two years since Americans learned of the NSA’s mass surveillance, they have grown increasingly skeptical about whether the government’s intrusive surveillance programs serve the public interest — and rightly so: the speculative benefits of these programs simply are not worth their cost, in constitutional, practical, or economic terms.

Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, the statutory basis for bulk collection of domestic telephone records, is set to expire on May 31, 2015. The Senate has a duty to carefully evaluate existing programs before voting on whether to simply reauthorize them without reforms — especially because lawmakers in 2001 didn’t set out to create a vast surveillance state. Indeed, the PATRIOT Act’s primary author, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), has denounced this Administration’s sweeping interpretation of Section 215 as greatly exceeding what Congress intended.