(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-Md) today joined Reps. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) and Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.) and 35 House Democrats in sending a letter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National Guard Bureau, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) demanding that the agencies immediately stop illegal surveillance of peaceful protesters around the country.
The Member wrote: “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. Americans should not have to take proactive measures to protect themselves from government surveillance before engaging in peaceful demonstration.”
The lawmakers cite various news reports showing that the agencies are flying manned and unmanned aircraft with equipment to conduct surveillance via video cameras and by tracking cell phones. The letter also shows that various press and civil society groups have published steps protesters can take to evade government surveillance.
In addition to Reps. Raskin, Eshoo, and Rush, the letter was signed by Representatives Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Salud O. Carbajal (CA-24), Wm. 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), 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), and Peter Welch (VT).
A copy of the letter can be found here.