Here's an email I got from Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore):
I know that you share my concerns about protecting our civil liberties, and wanted to update you on a new bill I have introduced. As you may recall, several years ago, Congress retroactively authorized the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program to track the communications of foreigners while they are overseas. That law is up for reauthorization later this year and this week I introduced a bill, the Protect Americans' Privacy Act (S. 3515), to close some concerning loopholes that could enable the government to spy on Americans without warrants.
The program is supposed to only allow the wiretapping of communications of people who are not American citizens and are not in the United States. However, there are loopholes in the current statute that could permit the intelligence community to intentionally or unintentionally collect and store the communications of American citizens and others living in the U.S. and to mine data collected from Americans without a warrant. National security agencies have not even released estimates of how often Americans' communications are swept up by the warrantless wiretapping program.
My bill would close these loopholes by ensuring that intelligence agencies are not indirectly targeting Americans or using Americans' communications that they sweep up inadvertently or as a result of poor targeting standards without a court warrant.
Keeping Americans safe versus protecting American's privacy is a false choice. We have a moral and constitutional duty to do both. We can ensure our government has the tools to spy on our enemies without giving it a license to intrude into the private lives of American citizens. Thank you for your interest in these issues and please continue to send your thoughts my way.
All my best,
Jeffrey A. Merkley
United States Senator