VIDEO: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Calls to De-Fund NSA Warrantless Spying Program
***UPDATE: The amendment was passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 293-123.***
Washington, DC – During debate on the annual Defense funding bill today, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) made a forceful call to prohibit funding for the National Security Agency’s (NSA) program to spy on American citizens without warrants. The congresswoman co-sponsored an amendment to shut surveillance “backdoors” that allow the government to gather Americans’ personal data in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
“Millions of innocent Americans have been victims of our government’s illegal spying program for years; it’s time to finally put an end to this unconstitutional program,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who has strongly advocated for restoring privacy and civil liberties in the wake of the NSA scandal. “Our first priority must be to keep our people safe. We do that by focusing our assets and resources on those who actually pose a threat to our national security, while upholding the freedoms and civil liberties of the American people – not by continuing this dragnet spying on millions of Americans. To date, there is no evidence that this dragnet collection has made our country safer. In fact, because our resources are spread so thin, it may be making our country less secure. Not a single taxpayer dollar should be used to fund a program that spies on innocent Americans, violating the principles of liberty and freedom that so many have fought and sacrificed their lives for.”
The amendment would 1) prohibit the NSA and the CIA from placing surveillance “backdoors” on commercial tech products, and 2) prohibit warrantless collection of Americans’ personal online data.
In remarks to the House of Representatives today, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard reiterated her long-standing concerns about the NSA’s sweeping collection of personal data of innocent Americans. Last month, she filed a bipartisan amendment to the annual intelligence authorization bill to strengthen the authority of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), an independent watchdog group that ensures privacy concerns are considered as it reviews and analyzes the executive branch’s actions to protect the U.S. from terrorism.
The President’s Review Group and the PCLOB have both questioned the constitutionality of the NSA’s surveillance practices.