Twenty-Nine American Writers Call on Senate to Pass Meaningful NSA Reform

NEW YORK—Edward Albee, Don DeLillo, John Green, Rachel Kushner, and twenty-five other leading American writers joined PEN American Center today in an open letter to the Senate leadership demanding National Security Administration reform on the premise that mass surveillance is censorship.

“Writers and all citizens need privacy to explore controversial ideas, conceive challenges to conventional wisdom, and to enter into open dialogue with counterparts around the globe who may enlighten our worldview through their very different beliefs,” they argue.

Published today in The Hill congressional blog, the letter lays out four clear points that any legislative reform must address to fulfill U.S. obligations to protect free expression and privacy at home and abroad.  The letter recommends a clear and definitive end to bulk metadata collection and dragnet collection of international communications, the creation of an independent special advocate for the FISA Court, and increased transparency to allow private companies to disclose information about government information orders.

Several free expression, human rights, and privacy advocates have been mounting pressure on the Senate to move on the USA FREEDOM Act in the seven working days remaining before the summer recess. 

“Congress’ failure to enact meaningful surveillance reform this year will risk enshrining the NSA’s unchecked and overreaching programs as a permanent fixture that will jeopardize the free society we all treasure,” the letter reads.

The full letter is available at


Founded in 1922, PEN American Center is an association of 3,500 American writers working to bring down barriers to free expression worldwide.


Katy Glenn Bass,, 212.334.1660 x 109
Sarah Edkins,, 212.334.1660 x 116