Elizabeth Goitein Profile picture
Apr 20 10 tweets 2 min read Read on X
It’s over (for now). A majority of senators caved to the fearmongering and bush league tactics of the administration and surveillance hawks in Congress, and they sold out Americans’ civil liberties. Section 702 has been reauthorized, not just without any meaningful reforms… 1/10
…but with “one of the most dramatic and terrifying expansions of government surveillance authority in history,” as @RonWyden aptly described it. It is nothing short of mind-boggling that 58 senators voted to keep this Orwellian power in the bill. 2/10
The provision effectively grants the NSA access to the communications equipment of almost any U.S. business, plus huge numbers of organizations and individuals. It’s a gift to any president who may wish to spy on political enemies, journalists, ideological opponents, etc. 3/10
The administration and intelligence committee leaders buried senators in a morass of misleading and, in some cases, flatly false statements throughout the week. I think of myself as pretty jaded, and I was still genuinely shaken by how many lies I heard. 4/10
This is a shameful moment in the history of the United States Congress. It’s a shameful moment for this administration, as well. But ultimately, it’s the American people who pay the price for this sort of thing. And sooner or later, we will. 5/10
There are 3 silver linings. First, the many senators who fought so hard to protect our civil liberties. I am particularly grateful to @RonWyden, @SenMikeLee, @SenatorDurbin, and @RandPaul, who have led the charge on Section 702 reforms. Please RT to show your appreciation! 6/10
Second, ALL OF YOU who made calls to your senators over the past week. We can track how many people use the call tool; you made literally thousands of calls each day. I’m in awe, and I also feel like I’m part of a huge, new, wonderful community. From my heart, I thank you. 7/10
Third—and very much related—because of the heat we were able to bring, we extracted some promises from the administration and the Senate intelligence committee chair. I do think they’ll be forced to make SOME changes to mitigate the worst parts of the law… 8/10
…which they can do by including those changes in an upcoming must-pass vehicle, like the National Defense Authorization Act. I’ll keep you all posted on those efforts. Let’s hold them to their promises. 9/10
I’ll have more to say about all of this later, but I’m taking the next week off for a vacation with family. In the immortal words of Tommy Lee Jones, “I need the rest.” And then… back to the fight! 10/10

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More from @LizaGoitein

Apr 19
THANK YOU to the *thousands* of you who have made calls—WE NEED TO KEEP THEM COMING! Call 202-899-8938 to be connected to your Senators & urge them to vote “NO” on RISAA, which contains a “terrifying” provision (@RonWyden) that will force U.S. businesses to act as NSA spies. 1/6
The administration and intelligence officials will put ENORMOUS pressure on Senators today to just swallow this terrible bill, because otherwise Section 702 will lapse at the end of the day. We need to make sure they’re feeling just as much pressure FROM US. 2/6
As I pointed out yesterday, the April 19 deadline isn’t real. The FISA Court has already approved Section 702 surveillance until April 2025, and there’s a “grandfathering” provision in the law for such approvals. 3/6 nytimes.com/2024/04/18/us/…
Read 6 tweets
Apr 18
THERE WILL BE SENATE VOTES ON SECTION 702 TODAY. Please call this number (202-899-8938) ASAP to be connected to your Senators and urge them to vote “NO” on RISAA, which contains a “terrifying” provision (@RonWyden) that will force U.S. businesses to serve as NSA spies. 1/9
For more background on this provision, see my op-ed in the Hill yesterday…2/9 thehill.com/opinion/techno…
…or my tweet thread from Monday… 3/9
Read 9 tweets
Apr 16
URGENT: PLEASE KEEP THE CALLS COMING! Call this number (202-899-8938) ASAP to be connected to your Senators and urge them NOT to pass RISAA, which contains a “terrifying” provision (@RonWyden) that will force U.S. businesses to serve as NSA spies. 1/12
For more background on this provision, see my tweet thread from yesterday. The top line is that it would allow the NSA to compel a huge range of U.S. business and individuals to serve as surrogate spies. 2/12
You can also read more about this provision—and how the government wrote the language incredibly broadly to disguise the specific thing they were trying to get at—in this story in today’s @nytimes. 3/12 nytimes.com/2024/04/16/us/…
Read 12 tweets
Apr 15
URGENT: Please read thread below. We have just days to convince the Senate NOT to pass a “terrifying” law (@RonWyden) that will force U.S. businesses to serve as NSA spies. CALL YOUR SENATOR NOW using this call tool (click below or call 202-899-8938). 1/25 act.demandprogress.org/call/no-on-sec…
Buried in the Section 702 reauthorization bill (RISAA) passed by the House on Friday is the biggest expansion of domestic surveillance since the Patriot Act. Senator Wyden calls this power “terrifying,” and he’s right. 2/25
I’ll explain how this new power works. Under current law, the government can compel “electronic communications service providers” that have direct access to communications to assist the NSA in conducting Section 702 surveillance. 3/25
Read 25 tweets
Apr 12
I’m sad—and frankly baffled—to report that the House voted today to reward the government’s widespread abuses of Section 702 by massively expanding the government’s powers to conduct warrantless surveillance. 1/14
The amendment to require the gov’t to obtain a warrant to search Section 702 data for Americans’ communications failed by an achingly close vote of 212-212, following some truly shameless misrepresentations about the amendment from @MikeTurnerOH, the White House, & others. 2/14
Opponents branded the notion that the government should need a warrant to read Americans’ communications—the core of the Fourth Amendment and the guiding principle for searching Americans’ private correspondence for more than 200 years—as “extreme.” 3/14
Read 14 tweets
Apr 12
The House will vote on Section 702 TOMORROW MORNING. If you think warrantless surveillance should be reined in rather than massively expanded, PLEASE USE THIS CALL TOOL ASAP (click below or call 202-899-8938) & leave a message if you get VM. 1/21 act.demandprogress.org/call/no-on-sec…
The base bill is the Reforming Intelligence and Securing America Act (RISAA). As the @BrennanCenter has explained, this bill would do nothing to prevent abuses of Section 702, and it would actually weaken the FISA Court’s oversight of surveillance. 2/21 brennancenter.org/our-work/resea…
Judiciary Committee members will offer an amendment to require the government to get a warrant before searching Section 702 data for Americans’ communications. This amendment is critical, and if it doesn’t pass, the House should vote NO on RISAA. 3/21 brennancenter.org/our-work/resea…
Read 21 tweets

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