Last week, the New York Times reported on expanded search and seizure powers by FBI agents. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) is coming out against this expansion of powers in an opinion column at the Huffington Post, “Fighting for Our Privacy Rights, Against the FBI’s New Powers”:
I don’t put a lot of stock in political polls. But I’d bet any poll will tell you that a vast majority of law-abiding Americans have a problem with federal agents secretly going through your household trash, or gathering personal information about you — without reasonable cause or proper recordkeeping. […]
It’s up to members of Congress to hold federal agencies accountable — to make sure that the people charged with keeping our citizens safe honor the rights guaranteed by our Constitution.
That’s why I’m calling on the FBI to abandon its plans to give some 14,000 agents significant new powers to investigate the private lives of law-abiding Americans — click here and add your voice to mine today.
Recent reports say the FBI is drafting new rules giving its agents the authority to search databases for personal information, use surveillance teams to monitor law-abiding citizens, and even to sift through their trash.
Under the new rules, agents wouldn’t have to show any “factual basis” of evidence to undertake that surveillance, and they wouldn’t be required to keep records of their searches.
That’s not how we do things in Montana or anywhere else in America. And that’s why the FBI should abandon those plans. […]
Whether it’s rejecting the Patriot Act, or a national ID card, or encroachments on our civil liberties, I’ll always fight to defend the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans. I hope you’ll join me in fighting for our freedom, and our privacy.