Reps. Eshoo, Rush, House Colleagues Demand Federal Agencies Cease Surveillance of Protests

June 9, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) and Bobby Rush (D-IL) sent 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 surveillance of peaceful protesters around the country. The letter was signed by 35 of Members of Congress.  

“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,” said the lawmakers. “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. 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), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), 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).

The full letter can be found HERE.