Assemblyman’s bill addresses NSA surveillance

July 2, 2013

By Katy Grimes


Life in America would be far different if at the end of every day you had to report in to a federal government agency where you had been, who you met with and talked to, who you called and who called you, who you emailed, and what websites you visited.

A chill would take over the land of the free.

In an interview, Assemblyman Travis Allen, R-Huntington Beach, said the surveillance the National Security Agency has been conducting on all Americans for the past decade is not much different. And, Allen said, it’s a violation of American’s rights, and needs to stop.

To begin a conversation among Legislatures across the country, Allen introduced Assembly Joint Resolution 26, calling upon the President and Congress of the United States to make the protection of civil liberties and national security equal priorities, and to immediately discontinue any practices that are contrary to the 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution. Allen’s resolution is the first of its kind in the nation.

“Our country was founded on the principles of protecting individual liberties and the inalienable rights of the people from the infringement of overreaching governments,” Allen said.

“There cannot be a compromise between national security and honoring our commitment to  American citizens through the Constitution. Both are equally important and neither should take precedent over the other,” said Allen. “Government should be transparent, strive for the highest level of integrity, and be held accountable to the public.”


The recent reports of the National Security Agency collecting and storing Internet, phone and financial data of American citizens, under the auspices of an alleged attempt to stop terrorist activity, is overreach Allen said.

“This revelation that the NSA has been collecting these records from unaware American citizens has raised questions amongst the public about the constitutionality of the government’s actions,” Allen said. “I think Americans would be okay with any legal surveillance plan with a high degree of transparency.”

AJR 26 includes a quote from James Madison, the fourth President of the United States, “Father of the Constitution” for being instrumental in the drafting of the United States Constitution and as the key champion and author of the Bill of Rights: “Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”

AJR 26 appeals to the federal government to equally prioritize the need for national security against terrorist threats, along with the civil liberties and protection of every American citizen’s Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches. AJR 26 also acknowledges with the high level of technology available today, the personal information of the citizenry can be easily obtained and cataloged, which is why it is incumbent upon all individuals to be vigilant in securing our civil liberties.

Allen added, “Our government should always work to protect Americans from threats to national security, but we must not cast aside our Constitution in the process.”

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