FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JULY 31, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Denny Heck (WA-10) introduced the Restrictions on Intelligence Assets in Protests Act, a bill to limit federal intelligence and law enforcement surveillance on lawful protesters.
“Federal agencies’ surveillance of protesters is deeply troubling,” said Heck. “Intelligence assets and federal law enforcement agencies have no place gathering information on Americans exercising their First Amendment rights. Congress must reign in this activity immediately.”
The Restrictions on Intelligence Assets in Protests Act will counter these encroachments by:
- Preventing use of intelligence community assets to support law enforcement investigations or surveillance on lawful protests (with exceptions for appropriate law enforcement investigations).
- Prohibiting any federal law enforcement entity from supporting investigations or surveillance outside its express jurisdiction.
- Requiring the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to deliver a report to Congress detailing the use, if any, of intelligence community assets in support of law enforcement in response to protests around the death of George Floyd.
On Thursday, news emerged that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) assembled intelligence reports on journalists who published documents outlining the department’s review of demonstrators. Last week, it was reported that DHS had authorized the collection of information on individual protesters.
In late May, a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) drone flew to Minneapolis to monitor protesters, part of a larger pattern of federal aircraft being deployed to surveil protesters around the country.
Congressman Heck is a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Full text of the bill can be found here.