Tester Protects Montanans’ Privacy, Curbs FBI’s Authority to Spy on Americans

Senator Votes Down Amendment to Increase Government Surveillance

(U.S. Senate) – Senator Jon Tester today slammed down a proposal that gives the FBI increased authority to collect Americans’ electronic communications without first seeking court approval.

Tester, a long time privacy advocate, voted down an amendment to the Commerce, Science, and Justice Appropriations bill that would have expanded the FBI’s authority to obtain information about Americans’ internet activities – including web browsing history, email account information and location information – without first getting a warrant.

“This amendment gives the government even more unchecked authority to spy on its own citizens and I will not let that happen on my watch,” said Tester, a member of the Homeland Security Committee. “We can take the fight to terrorists without jeopardizing our civil liberties. This proposal is a radical idea that violates our right to privacy.”

The amendment, offered by Senator John McCain, also would make permanent the government’s ability to wiretap certain individuals even if there is no connection to a terrorist organization.

Tester pointed out that the FBI already has legal authority to collect key information about suspected terrorists.