Dear Mr. Speaker and Representative Jeffries,
I am writing to advise you of our strong opposition to a new effort to incorporate H.R. 4639, the “Fourth Amendment Is Not For Sale Act,” into new legislation reauthorizing Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Act or as an amendment to such a bill.
In December, the FOP offered to work with Members of the House to address genuine privacy concerns surrounding the availability of this information without removing this vital tool from our law enforcement agencies. Our offer was ignored, and now the House seems poised to enact legislation that would destroy the basic ability of law enforcement to conduct investigations into violent crimes like murder, kidnapping, terrorism, and other serious threats. The language of H.R. 4639 as introduced would cut off access to vital investigative tools routinely used by law enforcement agencies every day—tools that generate leads into crucial and often complex cases. Investigators do this by selectively using third-party data, which is widely available for use for a variety of purposes that have nothing to do with public safety. If Congress acts to impose a probable cause standard for this type of information, routine investigations will become arduous and time consuming—delaying justice for victims. Investigations in which time is a factor—like kidnappings or human trafficking—will become impossible to solve, and lives will be lost if this data becomes unavailable.
The data accessed by law enforcement that H.R. 4639 would restrict is critical because it allows investigators to identify and pursue leads. These leads are used to gather evidence and establish probable cause for an arrest and prosecution. Without access to this type of data, investigators will not be able to “connect the dots”—to see patterns and establish links between the crime and the perpetrator. By prohibiting access to this commercially available data, Congress would be tying the hands of law enforcement and greatly increasing the time it takes to conduct successful investigations into serious crimes.
On behalf of the more than 373,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, we urge the House to reject any and all efforts to enact H.R. 4639. For more information on the damage that this bill would have on public safety, please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in our Washington, D.C. office.
cc: The Honorable Stephen J. Scalise, Majority Leader, U.S. House of Representatives
The Honorable Katherine M. Clark, Minority Whip, U.S. House of Representatives
The Honorable James D. Jordan, Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives
The Honorable Jerrold L. Nadler, Ranking Member, U.S. House of Representatives
The Honorable Thomas J. Cole, Chairman, Committee on Rules, U.S. House of Representatives
The Honorable James P. McGovern, Ranking Member, Committee on Rules, U.S. House of Representatives
State Lodge Presidents