December 13, 2023

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Dr. Rand Paul Fights to Protect Civil Liberties, Calls on Senate to Remove Domestic Spying Authority in NDAA

Including FISA in the NDAA, without necessary reform to Section 702, would continue to allow the U.S. government to spy on U.S. citizens without a warrant

WASHINGTON, D.C. Today, in a continuation of his efforts to protect Americans’ civil liberties and push for reform to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) forced a Senate vote to remove reauthorization of FISA from the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). 

A bipartisan group of 34 senators joined Dr. Paul in voting to remove the reauthorization of FISA from the annual NDAA. The final vote tally was 35-65, six votes short of ending domestic spying authority.

Below are excerpts from Dr. Paul’s prepared remarks he delivered ahead of the vote:

“So far as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act allows our government to spy on U.S. citizens without a warrant, it is unconstitutional.”

“Section 702 expires at the end of this year. Members of Congress anticipated using this deadline as an opportunity to not just make meaningful changes to 702, but to reform FISA generally to better protect Americans’ civil liberties.

“But it appears not to be so. Though we have known when 702 would expire for years, the uniparty never seriously considered or prioritized reforms.  And now we are told that we simply have no choice but to extend Section 702 into 2024.

“Well, extending Section 702 robs Congress of the ability to make reforms now, and likely robs Congress of the opportunity to make reforms any time in the next year. 

“That means, once again, the intelligence agencies that ignore the constraints on their power will go unaddressed and unpunished. And the warrantless surveillance of Americans, in violation of the Bill of Rights, will continue.

“Using 702, Americans’ communications content and metadata is inevitably swept up and kept in government databases without a warrant. Law enforcement agencies then access Americans’ communications without a warrant.

“In other words, your texts, emails, and phone calls are collected and stored in a government database without a warrant and then searched by government law enforcement without a warrant.”

“Those who make the lazy and predictable argument that government is your only shield from threats always fail to mention that government itself often is the threat. 

“I think it is high time we quit letting fear overrun our constitutional duty. The Members of this body should do themselves the honor of standing by their oath to the Constitution.

“To protect our civil liberties and the integrity of the congressional conference committee process, we must strip this extension of domestic spying authority out of the defense bill.”

You can watch Dr. Paul’s full floor remarks HERE.



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