Just weeks after the Senate failed to pass a bill that could have limited the government's ability to spy on U.S. citizens, the House of Representatives has passed a piece of troubling legislation that could give the executive branch even more freedom to gather your information. In fact, one U.S. representative rushed to stop the Intelligence Authorization Act - which he says "grants the executive branch virtually unlimited access to the communications of every American" - but was too late.
Last night, the Senate passed an amended version of the intelligence reauthorization bill with a new Sec. 309 — one the House never has considered. Sec. 309 authorizes “the acquisition, retention, and dissemination” of nonpublic communications, including those to and from U.S. persons. The section contemplates that those private communications of Americans, obtained without a court order, may be transferred to domestic law enforcement for criminal investigations.
When Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) heard about the vote and realized its implications, he contacted other representatives and urged them to vote no.
All in all, 99 other Republicans and Democrats joined Amash, but the bill still passed by a wide margin, 325-100.