The “out-of-control surveillance state” threatens the very core of the Constitution, according to Rep. Matt Salmon of Arizona.
“Transparency and privacy are the core of a republic. A republic demands transparency from the government and privacy for its citizens,” Salmon said Monday at the Heritage Foundation’s Conservative Policy Summit. “Today we’ve reversed that, with government demanding transparency from us but insisting on secrecy for itself.”
Salmon galvanized the Republican base around the Fourth Amendment — which protects Americans from unreasonable search and seizure — at a daylong policy summit hosted by the conservative think tank. He said the government’s mass snooping program crosses the line and does not make Americans safer.
“The fact is, as usual, when you give the government an inch, they take a mile,” Salmon said.
The Arizona representative — who retired in 2001 after a self-imposed term limit but successfully ran again in 2012 — pushed electronic communications privacy reform as one small step toward restraining government surveillance.
Salmon in 2013 introduced bipartisan legislation to amend the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 in response to the Internal Revenue Service’s position that the Fourth Amendment does not protect emails. His bill would require the government to obtain a warrant or explicit written consent to access any private email or text message.
Introduced before Edward Snowden’s revelations about the reach of the government spying program, Salmon said the bill’s narrow focus increases its chance of becoming law. “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good,” he said.
Digital privacy was one of 10 policy priorities for 2014 outlined at the conference. Other priorities include welfare reform, health care, education, and taxes.
What We're Following See More »
"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."
Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."
The government alleges the company put eight “software-based features” on diesel engines in nearly 104,000 Ram pickups and Jeep Grand Cherokees from the 2014 to 2016 model years, which allowed the vehicles to emit fewer pollutants during EPA lab tests than during normal driving conditions.
At an open hearing of the House Intelligence Committee, former CIA chief John Brennan said he saw information on Trump-Russia contacts that were worth a further look. "Having been involved in many counterintelligence cases in the past, I know what the Russians do. They try to suborn individuals," Brennan said. "And they try to get individuals, including U.S. persons, to act on their behalf, whether wittingly or unwittingly. And I was worried by a number of the contacts that the Russians had with U.S. persons, and so therefore by the time I left office ... I had unresolved questions in my mind."
"President Trump is moving rapidly toward assembling outside counsel to help him navigate the investigations into his campaign and Russian interference in last year’s election, and in recent days he and his advisers have privately courted several prominent attorneys to join the effort. By Monday, a list of finalists for the legal team had emerged, according to four people briefed on the discussions."