Tester slams collection of Americans’ phone records

Senator calls issue ‘Example A’ of ignoring basic Constitutional rights

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester, a leading voice for protecting Americans’ privacy and civil liberties, today released the following statement following news that the National Security Agency is collecting the phone records of law-abiding Americans:

“Time and time again Congress extends the Patriot Act without properly considering the law’s impact on Americans’ civil liberties. Today’s news is ‘Example A’ for what happens when we ignore the very Constitutional rights that make our nation great and respected around the world.

“While we must keep our families safe, I have many questions about the scope of this program and how it affects law-abiding citizens. As I work with my colleagues to get to the bottom of this issue, I will continue my fight to repeal the Patriot Act and stand up for our privacy, our civil liberties and our fundamental American rights.”

Tester – along with fellow Montana Senator Max Baucus – voted against extending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in December. 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.

Tester, who originally ran for the Senate in 2006 in part due to his opposition to the Patriot Act, has voted against extending the Patriot Act multiple times, saying it “tramples our constitutional rights and invades the privacy of law-abiding Montanans and Americans.”