Rep. Rush Holt has long been one of the most outspoken critics of the surveillance state. First elected in 1998 to represent central New Jersey, the Democrat served on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which oversees U.S. intelligence agencies, from 2003 until 2011. He is currently seeking the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate from New Jersey, running against Newark mayor Cory Booker.
Last week, Holt introduced the Surveillance State Repeal Act. A number of members of Congress have offered proposals to rein in domestic surveillance, but Holt’s bill may be the most ambitious. It would repeal the 2001 Patriot Act, which the NSA has cited as the legal basis for its phone records surveillance program. It would also repeal the 2008 FISA Amendments Act, the legal foundation for the government’s PRISM program. And it would extend whistleblower protections to cover employees of intelligence agencies.