U.S. Representative Trey Gowdy voted last week in favor of renewing the FISA Amendments Act for five more years – beyond the entire next presidential term in office – without any reforms. The FISA Amendments Act has enabled the spy agencies of United States to establish an immense electronic surveillance program that grabs private information from large numbers of Americans within U.S. borders, and does so without the search warrant that the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States requires. The FISA Amendments Act has led Americans to reasonably suspect that their telephone calls, emails, and other electronic communications may be listened and watched by government agents.
In justifying his vote for this unconstitutional program, Gowdy cited the attack in Libya that killed the U.S. Ambassador there, saying, “this week has provided tragic reminders that the world is a dangerous place. We are targets even from people we have helped in the past – with lethal consequences because we represent freedom, liberty and tolerance even among those with whom we disagree.”
One detail Representative Gowdy seems to have missed is that the FISA Amendments Act completely failed to provide intelligence to warn the American embassy in Libya that it would come under attack – even though the attack had been extensively planned for some time. So, we see that the FISA Amendments Act has not only weakened the constitutional rights of Americans, but has failed to do the job it was set up to do in the first place.