U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-FL, today called on congressional leaders to take immediate action to reform the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance programs following reports of “thousands of violations” of Americans’ privacy.
Last week, an internal NSA audit obtained by the Washington Post cited 2,776 incidents where the spy agency engaged in the “unauthorized collection, storage, access to or distribution of legally protected communications.”
“These latest revelations of government overreach are extremely disturbing,” said Buchanan, a member of the Congressional Privacy Caucus. “Our strength as a nation flows from the values and freedoms laid out in the Constitution, including the right against unreasonable searches and seizures. It’s imperative the both parties work together and institute reforms to protect the privacy and liberties of the American people.”
Last month, Buchanan voted for an amendment to the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act, offered by Congressman Justin Amash of Michigan, to prevent the NSA from collecting the phone records of Americans who are not under investigation.
The chief author of the Patriot Act, Congressman James Sensenbrenner, also supported the amendment which was narrowly defeated 205-217. The U.S. House is expected to consider the intelligence reauthorization bill this Fall, legislation Buchanan says is the appropriate vehicle for broader NSA reforms.
“It is a slippery slope if we allow our basic freedoms to be eroded in the name of security,” said Buchanan. “The time has come for Congress to address these issues in a transparent, public manner.”