Politics

Second Amendment Rights at Risk as Mike Turner Seeks to ‘Narrow’ Scope of Deep Spy Powers Reform

Americans’ Second Amendment rights are at risk over a deep state surveillance reform bill as House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner (R-OH) has sought to “narrow” the scope of surveillance reform.

The House Rules Committee on Wednesday will consider a bill that would reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The House is expected to consider the legislation later this week.

Section 702 is a law that allows intelligence agencies to collect communications of targeted foreigners. It also may lead to targeted surveillance of Americans’ private communications, which privacy advocates consider a run around the Fourth Amendment’s requirement for a warrant to search Americans’ communications.

Members of the House Freedom Caucus held a press conference on Wednesday, demanding that the House allow for amendments to the bill to enhance the bill with measures that would rein in government surveillance abuse beyond Section 702 of FISA.

Chief amongst them is the “data broker” loophole that would allow the federal government agencies and other law enforcement agencies to purchase Americans’ private information through data brokers, in what is considered a run around the Fourth Amendment.

Related: GOP Rep. Calls to Pass Amendment that Bans Pentagon from Circumventing Fourth Amendment

U.S. House of Representatives

The Freedom Caucus members at the presser, which included Reps. Warren Davidson (R-OH), Scott Perry (R-PA), Freedom Caucus Chair Bob Good (R-VA), and Andy Biggs (R-AZ), demanded that the bill allow amendments that would include a warrant requirement for Section 702, enactment of Davidson’s the Fourth Amendment Is Not For Sale Act to close the data broker loophole, among others.

Breitbart News reported that 30 House Republicans on Tuesday sent a letter to Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) and Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) demanding that they protect Americans’ Second Amendment rights by closing the data broker loophole.

The lawmakers emphasized that, if lawmakers do not close the data broker loophole, it could have a particular concern to law-abiding Americans:

The threat to Americans’ Second and Fourth Amendment rights is not limited to the government’s purchase of location data. Commercial data brokers openly sell marketing lists containing the name, address, and other personal information identifying “gun owners” and “shooting fanatics,” as well as specialized lists, like “concealed carry – licensed gun owners,” “affluent gun owners,” and “age 70+; elderly gun owners.” Unfortunately, the same legal loophole that the Biden Administration has embraced to purchase Americans’ location data could equally apply to the purchase of commercial lists identifying gun owners. [Emphasis added]

The Gun Owners of America and the National Association for Gun Rights also back Davidson’s Fourth Amendment Is Not For Sale Act and protect Americans’ Second Amendment rights.

Tuner, whose Intelligence Committee sponsored a 702 reform bill that has limited reforms of the controversial surveillance bill, in November, credited the Biden administration for saying lawmakers could look at reforms beyond 702; however, he said “our effort is to try narrow that conversation.”

Although the incoming FISA reform had members from the Judiciary Committee, the compromise legislation largely mirrors the Intelligence Committee bill, which does not close the data broker loophole or require a warrant for searches under Section 702.

Marc Zwilling, one of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) amici curiae, who advises the court on matters relating to FISA, wrote that the House Intelligence Committee bill, which resembles the current compromise bill, would “significantly expand the government’s authority under FISA 702 by broadening the definition of “electronic communication service providers” (ECSPs) whom the government may compel to assist in FISA 702 surveillance.”

Effectively, as Zwilling writes, this could expand surveillance into a myriad of different businesses and dwellings:

These changes would vastly widen the scope of businesses, entities, and their affiliates who are eligible to be compelled to assist 702 surveillance. By including any “service provider”—rather than any “other communication service provider”—that has access not just to communications, but also to the “equipment that is being or may be used to transmit or store . . . communications,” the expanded definition would appear to cover data centers, colocation providers, business landlords, shared workspaces, or even hotels where guests connect to the Internet. [Emphasis aded]

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), a longtime privacy advocate, referred to the Intelligence Committee bill as a “PATRIOT Act 2.0.”

Related: Pramila Jayapal Hounds FBI over FISA Practices, Purchasing Private American Data as Run Around 4th Amendment

C-SPAN

Davidson told Politico on Wednesday morning that if amendments are allowed to the FISA compromise bill, then “privacy folks” would be good for advancing the Section 702 bill. If not, he said that the rule allowing a vote on the bill could be in “jeopardy.”

However, he said that Intelligence Committee members are threatening to vote against the rule over these amendments.

“As we go forward, I’m requesting that the Speaker take his base bill, the leadership base bill and allow us to have a rational amendment process where we can do things like ask for warrants, see if our colleagues want to have warrants,” Biggs said during the Tuesday press conference.

Sean Moran is a policy reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.



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