January 14, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: media@dcaclu.org

WASHINGTON - The American Civil Liberties Union today expressed serious concerns about the use of “National Security Letters” by the Department of Defense and the CIA to collect the financial records of American citizens and called on Congress to launch an immediate investigation.

The following may be attributed to Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:

"This country has a long tradition of rejecting the use of the CIA and the Pentagon to spy on Americans, and rightfully so.  Today’s published report that the Pentagon and CIA have been relying on “National Security Letters” to collect the financial records of Americans without judicial supervision or Congressional oversight raises a host of questions that need to be answered.   What is the legal basis for the government’s action?  What safeguards are in place to protect basic privacy rights?  How often have the Pentagon and CIA used this claimed authority, based on what criteria, and was compliance truly “voluntary” or effectively coerced?

“We call on Congress to investigate these issues immediately, especially in light of previous revelations that the Pentagon compiled anti-terrorism dossiers on domestic organizations that had done nothing more than peacefully exercise their constitutional right to protest."

For more on the ACLU's work on NSLs, go to:
www.aclu.org/nsl

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