on H.R. 3773 - FISA Amendments Act of 2008
Ron Paul, M.D.
Mr Speaker, I rise in
opposition to this latest attempt to undermine our personal liberties and
violate the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. This bill will allow the
federal government to engage in the bulk collection of American citizens’
communications. In effect, it means that any American may have his electronic
communications monitored without a search warrant.
As such, the bill
clearly violates the Fourth Amendment, which states:
right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,
against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no
Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation,
describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
The assurances in
this bill that Americans will not have their communications monitored without
warrant are unconvincing. The bill merely states that the government should do
its best to avoid monitoring Americans if possible. We have seen how meaningless
such qualified prohibitions have been as we recount the abuses over the past
Just today, we read
in the news that the federal government has massively abused its ability to
monitor us by improperly targeting Americans through the use of “national
security letters.” Apparently some 60 percent of the more than 50,000 national
security letters targeted Americans, rather than foreign terrorists, for
This is what happens
when we begin down the slippery slope of giving up our constitutional rights for
the promise of more security. When we come to accept that the government can spy
on us without a court order we have come to accept tyranny.
I urge my colleagues
to reject this and all legislation that allows Americans to be spied on without
a properly issued warrant.