The Republican National Committee passed a resolution renouncing the National Security Agency’s mass data collection programs, disclosed by whistleblower Edward Snowden last year.
The “Resolution To Renounce The National Security Agency’s Surveillance Program”, which reportedly passed by an “overwhelming majority” during the party’s annual winter meeting Friday, calls for an investigation into the NSA’s “dragnet” surveillance program and for the creation of a committee to make “specific recommendations for legal and regulatory reform to end unconstitutional surveillance.”
The RNC also pushed for an amendment to Section 215 of the Patriot 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 US is prohibited by law.” As MSNBC’s Benjy Sarlin notes, that’s a big change from the party’s previous stance on warrantless wiretapping.
Here’s the full text of the resolution, obtained by Time:
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 to 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.