Republican Party

Exclusive: Republican Party Calls For End To NSA Domestic Phone Records Program

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Henrik S¿rensen / Photographer Henrik Sorensen

The resolution calls on on Republican members of Congress to enact amendments to the Section 215 law that currently allows the spy agency to collect records of almost every domestic telephone call.

This article was updated at 11:51 a.m.

In the latest indication of a growing libertarian wing of the GOP, the Republican National Committee passed a resolution Friday calling for an investigation into the “gross infringement” of Americans’ rights by National Security Agency programs that were revealed by Edward Snowden.

The resolution also calls on on Republican members of Congress to enact amendments to the Section 215 law that currently allows the spy agency to collect records of almost every domestic telephone call. The amendment should make clear that “blanket surveillance of the Internet activity, phone records and correspondence — electronic, physical, and otherwise — of any person residing in the U.S. is prohibited by law and that violations can be reviewed in adversarial proceedings before a public court,” the resolution reads.

The measure, the “Resolution to Renounce the National Security Agency’s Surveillance Program,” passed by an “overwhelming majority” by voice vote, along with resolutions calling for the repeal of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act and reaffirming the party’s pro-life stance, according to Reince Priebus, the RNC chairman.

Among other points, the resolution declares “the mass collection and retention of personal data is in itself contrary to the right of privacy protected by the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution,” a claim embraced by civil libertarians of both parties.

The revelation of the NSA programs has caused deepened a rift within the Republican Party between national security hawks and libertarians, but at the meeting, no RNC member rose to speak against the resolution.

The full text of the resolution as given to TIME follows below:

Resolution to Renounce the National Security Agency’s Surveillance Program

WHEREAS, the secret surveillance program called PRISM targets, among other things, the surveillance of U.S. citizens on a vast scale and monitors searching habits of virtually every American on the internet;

WHEREAS, this dragnet program is, as far as we know, the largest surveillance effort ever launched by a democratic government against its own citizens, consisting of the mass acquisition of Americans’ call details encompassing all wireless and landline subscribers of the country’s three largest phone companies;

WHEREAS, every time an American citizen makes a phone call, the NSA gets a record of the location, the number called, the time of the call and the length of the conversation, all of which are an invasion into the personal lives of American citizens that violates the right of free speech and association afforded by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution;

WHEREAS, the mass collection and retention of personal data is in itself contrary to the right of privacy protected by the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which guarantees the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, that warrants shall issue only upon probable cause, and generally prevents the American government from issuing modern-day writs of assistance;

WHEREAS, unwarranted government surveillance is an intrusion on basic human rights that threatens the very foundations of a democratic society and this program represents a gross infringement of the freedom of association and the right to privacy and goes far beyond even the permissive limits set by the Patriot Act; and

WHEREAS, Republican House Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, an author of the Patriot Act and Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee at the time of Section 215′s passage, called the Section 215 surveillance program “an abuse of that law,” writing that, “based on the scope of the released order, both the administration and the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court are relying on an unbounded interpretation of the act that Congress never intended,” therefore be it

RESOLVED, the Republican National Committee encourages Republican lawmakers to enact legislation to amend Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, the state secrets privilege, and the FISA Amendments Act to make it clear that blanket surveillance of the Internet activity, phone records and correspondence — electronic, physical, and otherwise — of any person residing in the U.S. is prohibited by law and that violations can be reviewed in adversarial proceedings before a public court;

RESOLVED, the Republican National Committee encourages Republican lawmakers to call for a special committee to investigate, report, and reveal to the public the extent of this domestic spying and the committee should create specific recommendations for legal and regulatory reform ot end unconstitutional surveillance as well as hold accountable those public officials who are found to be responsible for this unconstitutional surveillance; and

RESOLVED, the Republican National Committee encourages Republican lawmakers to immediately take action to halt current unconstitutional surveillance programs and provide a full public accounting of the NSA’s data collection programs.

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