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Dec 28, 2012

Senators slam bill that expands government spying

Tester and Baucus reject legislation, citing constitutional right to privacy

(U.S. SENATE) - Montana's U.S. Senators today rejected a bill that expands the government's ability to spy on law-abiding Americans.

Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus say today's extension of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as FISA, tramples constitutional rights by invading privacy.

The 2008 legislation allows the government to eavesdrop on phone conversations and intercept emails between law-abiding American citizens and foreign citizens-without a warrant. Both the Obama administration and the Bush administration have refused to discuss how the law is being used.

"We have a fundamental responsibility to protect the safety and security of all Americans, but we can and must do it without invading privacy or trampling on our constitutional rights," Tester said. "Our government should never be in the business of spying on law-abiding Americans."

"The American people deserve to know exactly how this surveillance authority is being used," Baucus said. "Without the amendments we supported, this bill leaves the door open for American citizens to get swept up in surveillance that is meant for terrorists, and I simply cannot support extending this authority without stronger protections of the constitutional rights of Montanans."

Tester earlier this month proposed an amendment to specifically outlaw "reverse targeting"-a controversial practice that effectively allows U.S. intelligence agents to spy on law-abiding Americans by targeting their overseas communications.

Tester and Baucus were among 23 U.S. Senators-both Democrats and Republicans-who voted against the extension of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Office Contact Information

Senator Tester's Montana staff serves the state from offices in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula. Please bring your concerns with federal agencies, academy nominations, and other situations to one of these Montana offices.


Judge Jameson Federal Building
2900 4th Ave N, Suite 201
Billings, MT 59101
Phone: (406) 252-0550
Fax: (406) 252-7768


Avant Courier Building
1 E Main Street, Suite 202
Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: (406) 586-4450
Fax: (406) 586-7647


Silver Bow Center
125 W Granite, Suite 200
Butte, MT 59701
Phone: (406) 723-3277
Fax: (406) 782-4717

Great Falls

119 1st Avenue N, Suite 102
Great Falls, MT 59401
Phone: (406) 452-9585
Fax: (406) 452-9586


208 North Montana Avenue
Suite 104
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 449-5401
Fax: (406) 449-5462


8 Third Street E
Kalispell, MT 59901
Phone: (406) 257-3360
Fax: (406) 257-3974


130 W Front St.
Missoula, MT 59802
Phone: (406) 728-3003
Fax: (406) 728-2193

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