Committee of 100 comments on the FISA Amendments Act
New York, NY (Nov. 11, 2017) — On Oct. 11, 2017, the Committee of 100 (C100), sent the following letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees:
The Committee of 100, an American non-profit organization of leading Chinese Americans, respectfully submits the following letter regarding the reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act that the Senate Judiciary Committee is presently considering and that the House Judiciary Committee will consider. We understand that the Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings on this earlier this summer. Based on our experiences throughout American history, Asian Americans are able to offer a unique perspective on this legislation.
The Committee of 100 urges you and the Senate and House Judiciary Committees to reauthorize Title VII of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 only with a new sunset date, so that the Act can be subjected to scheduled review in the future. We also urge you to protect privacy and civil liberty by including reforms to improve the terms, transparency, oversight, and accountability of the Act. We sincerely believe that these reforms can be accomplished without compromising the basic needs for national security. The following pages (Appendix A) elucidate our position in greater detail.
As a membership organization of illustrious Americans including the late John Fugh, the first Chinese American to serve as a United States Army General, and Admiral Ming Chang, the first Asian American to have achieved flag rank in the services, C100 recognizes that it is important to ensure our nation is able to counteract perils from terrorism and espionage. The threat to our American ideals is real.
Asian Americans have historically contributed to the safety and security of our nation through both military service and intelligence operations. Yet Asian Americans have also encountered express racial prejudice and discrimination, whether through the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 or the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.
Despite assimilation and loyalty, Asian Americans have consistently been portrayed as “perpetual foreigners.” The cases of Wen Ho Lee, Sherry Chen, and Xiaoxing Xi, all accused of the worst crimes against our country, but who all turned out to be innocent of wrongdoing, though not before suffering serious personal and professional harm, are just some recent examples of Asian Americans being potentially subject to greater suspicion based on race, ethnicity and ancestry.
As an organization committed to the full inclusion of Chinese Americans in the United States, C100 has been active for over 25 years in promoting due process and equal protection for Chinese Americans and Asian Americans. In 1999 and 2000, C100 led a coalition to raise national awareness about the denial of due process for Dr. Lee. More recently in the cases of Ms. Chen and Professor Xi, C100 has been collaborating with Congressional leaders, other Asian Pacific American organizations, and the U.S. government to address irresponsible prosecutions and practices inconsistent with the Justice Department’s policies.
Earlier this year, C100 released a white paper (attached) summarizing a statistical study conducted independently by legal scholar Andrew Kim, showing that Asian Americans face a much higher risk of prosecution under the Economic Espionage Act, compared to defendants with “Western names.” Asian Americans are, however, twice as likely of not being found guilty of espionage or similarly serious charges. To bring attention to these troubling issues, C100 has also been conducting a series of educational seminars for Asian American scientists and government employees to alert them to the risks and sensitivities involved in their fields.
The Committee of 100 is uniquely positioned to leverage its distinguished membership as well as its standing as a highly-reputable institution in both the Asian American community and the U.S. legal and policy fields to work with the U.S. government to ensure that it can defend national security interests while upholding civil liberties and equal protection for all Americans. We urge you and the Senate and House Judiciary Committees to consider our recommendations.
Please click here for the full text of the letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee and here for the full text of the letter to the House Judiciary Committee.
The Committee of 100 is a non-partisan leadership organization of prominent Chinese Americans in business, government, academia, and the arts. For over 25 years, the Committee has been committed to a dual mission of promoting the full participation of Chinese Americans in all fields of American life, and encouraging constructive relations between the peoples of the United States and Greater China. www.committee100.org