Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft

US Rep. Barr on ECHELON

------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
Date:          Thu, 13 May 1999 15:50:05 -0400
From:          David Sobel <>
Subject:       US Rep. Barr on ECHELON
To:            GILC Plan <>




WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Representative Bob Barr (GA-7)
successfully amended the Intelligence Reauthorization Act on the
House Floor today, to require U.S. intelligence agencies to
report to Congress on the legal standards justifying
surveillance activities directed at American citizens.

The Barr amendment requires the Attorney General, and the
directors of the National Security Agency and the Central
Intelligence Agency to provide a detailed report to Congress,
explaining the legal standards the intelligence community uses
to monitor the conversations, transmissions, or activities of
American citizens.

"Law-abiding Americans are engaging in more and more
communications, using exciting new technologies, such as mobile
phones, e-mail, facsimiles, and the Internet.  However, as more
and more information moves along electronic paths, these same
law-abiding citizens are increasingly exposed to government
surveillance," said Barr.

"I am extremely concerned there are not sufficient legal
mechanisms in place to protect our private information from
unauthorized government eavesdropping through such mechanisms as
Project ECHELON.  This amendment represents a first step toward
finding out whether or not sufficient legal safeguards and
privacy protection procedures are in place," Barr continued,
noting recent reports that Protect ECHELON, run by the NSA in
conjunction with Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United
Kingdom, intercepts some two million transmissions each hour,
with no judicial review or safeguards whatsoever.

"If this report, which we seek to mandate, reveals that
information about American citizens is being collected without
their consent or in the absence of legal authorization, the
intelligence community will have some serious explaining to do.
In that event, Congress should demand new laws that specifically
define the legal limits of government surveillance in the
information age," Barr concluded, praising Intelligence
Committee Chair Porter Goss (R-FL) for refusing to allow the
intelligence agencies to hide behind bogus claims of
"attorney-client privilege" and not supply Congress with
requested documents.

Barr, a former United States Attorney and CIA analyst, serves on
the House Judiciary, Government Reform, and Banking Committees.
For more information on Barr, visit his website at


. David L. Sobel, General Counsel              *   +1 202 544 9240
(tel) Electronic Privacy Information Center        *   +1 202 547 5482
(fax) 666 Pennsylvania Ave., SE Suite 301          *
Washington, DC 20003   USA                   * .