35 Members of Congress sign letter asking federal agencies to stop surveillance on Black Lives Matter protests

Posted on Jun 11, 2020 by Caleb Chen
Share Tweet

congressmembers sign letter calling for federal agencies to stop surveilling black lives matter protests

Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) and Bobby Rush (D-IL) have published a letter which was sent to multiple federal agencies demanding that the federal agencies stop spying on Black Lives Matter protests happening across the country. All in all, 35 members of Congress signed onto the letter showing a strong backlash to the use of taxpayer money to surveil Americans exercising their First Amendment rights to free speech. The surveillance itself is a violation of protesting Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights to protection from unreasonable search and seizures. The lawmakers stated in the letter:

“The surveillance tactics of [the FBI, National Guard, DEA, and CBP] during the recent protests across the U.S. are significantly chilling the First Amendment rights of Americans. We demand that you cease any and all surveilling of Americans engaged in peaceful protests.”

Federal agencies told by Congress members to stop spying on BLM protests

The four federal agencies that were called out and received the letter are the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National Guard Bureau (NG), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The DEA has been authorized to conduct covert surveillance on protests by the Department of Justice (DOJ). Meanwhile, the CBP has used its predator drones to spy on protests, too – though they haven’t revealed which part of the federal government requested its aerial surveillance help. The CBP’s use of military drones on domestic targets well outside of the border is being looked into by the House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversight Reform. Federal and the letter specifically noted that downloads of encryption apps such as encrypted private messaging have increased due to the surveillance. The letter stated:

“Americans should not have to take proactive measures to protect themselves from government surveillance before engaging in peaceful demonstration.”

Even though some Representatives recognize the irony in Americans having to take privacy matters into their own hands because the government seems to be the largest violator of privacy, they are not in the majority. The sad fact of the matter is that Americans should be taking proactive measures to protect themselves from surveillance in all aspects of their lives – not just when going out for a peaceful demonstration.

35 Representatives sign letter condemning surveillance of protestors

The 35 Representatives as well as their states and districts are listed below:

  • Earl Blumenauer (OR-03)
  • Salud O. Carbajal (CA-24)
  • William Lacy Clay (MO-01)
  • Peter A. DeFazio (OR-04)
  • Suzan K. DelBene (WA-01)
  • Michael F. Doyle (PA-18)
  • Bill Foster (IL-11)
  • Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03)
  • Deb Haaland (NM-01)
  • Denny Heck (WA-10)
  • Ro Khanna (CA-17)
  • Brenda L. Lawrence (MI-14)
  • Barbara Lee (CA-13)
  • John Lewis (GA-05)
  • Ted W. Lieu (CA-33)
  • Zoe Lofgren (CA-19)
  • Stephen F. Lynch (MA-08)
  • Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12)
  • Doris Matsui (CA-06)
  • Jerry McNerney (CA-09)
  • Grace Meng (NY-06)
  • Kweisi Mfume (MD-07)
  • Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC)
  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14)
  • Ayanna Pressley (MA-07)
  • Jamie Raskin (MD-08)
  • Tim Ryan (OH-13)
  • Janice D. Schakowsky (IL-09)
  • José E. Serrano (NY-15)
  • Darren Soto (FL-09)
  • Mark Takano (CA-41)
  • Rashida Tlaib (MI-13)
  • Peter Welch (VT)
  • Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18)
  • Bobby Rush (IL-1)

About Caleb Chen

Caleb Chen is a digital currency and privacy advocate who believes we must #KeepOurNetFree, preferably through decentralization. Caleb holds a Master's in Digital Currency from the University of Nicosia as well as a Bachelor's from the University of Virginia. He feels that the world is moving towards a better tomorrow, bit by bit by Bitcoin.

VPN Service