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Begich Builds on Record of Fighting for Privacy

Building on his strong record of fighting for greater transparency and to help ensure Alaskans’ constitutional right to privacy, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich today co-sponsored legislation limiting the government’s authority in the Patriot Act.

“The Patriot Act needs a better balance of protecting national security without undermining our privacy,” said Begich. “In addition to other legislation I have co-sponsored, this bill will help shed light on the collection of communications so Alaskans don’t have to wonder if their privacy has been jeopardized.”

The bill would require federal intelligence agencies to demonstrate communications records are in some way connected to terrorism or other intelligence activities. This limits existing authority under the PATRIOT Act which currently does not require intelligence agencies to provide any justification or demonstration to collect Americans’ records.

Other co-sponsors of the bill include Sens. Mark Udall (D-CO), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

Begich fought to include declassification of court rulings in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) extension bill in December. Because of lingering concerns about privacy, Begich voted against the FISA extension and the PATRIOT Act.

Begich also signed onto a letter with several of his colleagues in July of 2012 requesting more information about the number of Americans’ communications secretly collected by the U.S. government under section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act.

Last week Begich discussed legislation he co-sponsored to end the secret court rulings on controversial government surveillance programs and declassify significant FISA opinions on Fox News.

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