On December 28, 2012, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) spoke out eloquently against the warrantless wiretapping program instituted by the Bush Administration and continued by the Obama Administration. In his testimony before the Senate, Wyden explained how the original FISA Act worked - and how, after September 11th, the Bush Administration exceeded its legal authority and instituted a warrantless surveillance program.
In the clip below, Wyden explains that he was never briefed on the warrantless wiretapping program when it was created- even though he was a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence:
Like you, I have been on the Intelligence Committee and I have been a member for 12 years. But the first time I heard about the warrantless wiretapping program - the first time I heard about it - was when I read about it in the newspaper. It was in the New York Times before I - as a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence - knew about it.
Wyden goes on to explain that this warrantless wiretapping program runs contrary to the Fourth Amendment:
It is never okay - never okay - for government officials to use a general warrant to deliberately invade the privacy of a law abiding American. It was not OK for constables and customs officials to do it in Colonial days and it is not okay for the National Security Agency to do it today.
Unfortunately, Congress failed to pass even one of the proposed amendments which would have brought much-needed transparency and privacy to the FISA Amendments Act. This unconstitutional law was reauthorized for an additional five years with no reforms, mere days before it was set to expire.
EFF is continuing the battle against the warrantless surveillance case in court, opposing the National Security Agency for unconstitutional spying and suing AT&T for its role in assisting with this warrantless surveillance program. We rely on members like you to make this legal work possible; please support our fight.