In a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing Friday afternoon, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) was one of four senators to vote against the FISA Improvements Act citing that the bill did not go far enough in curbing the bulk collection of law-abiding Americans’ private records:
“This bill falls short of implementing necessary reforms to balance the government’s need to keep our nation safe with protecting our civil liberties. Collecting the daily telephone activity of millions of innocent Americans–and leaving the door open to collect information about where they are at any given time–is a major intrusion on privacy rights. We need to rein in these surveillance programs and focus on bolstering programs that actually target and prevent terrorism.”
Earlier this week, Senator Heinrich announced his support of the USA FREEDOM Act as an original cosponsor. The bill, introduced by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), would end the bulk collection of Americans’ phone and other communications records under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act and ensure that other authorities cannot be used to justify similar widespread collection. The bill also provides more safeguards against searches of Americans’ communications collected in the course of targeting foreigners as authorized by the FISA Amendments Act.