Markey Calls for Strong Congressional Oversight

WASHINGTON, DC -- Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), a senior member of the House Homeland Security Committee and Co-Chairman of the Bi-Partisan Congressional Privacy Caucus, released the following statement in response to reports that an internal Federal Bureau of Investigation audit has found that the FBI violated the law or agency rules more than 1,000 times during the course of investigations in recent years:

“The preliminary results of this internal FBI audit are further evidence of the disturbing trend of Bush Administration officials consistently circumventing the legal protections Congress has put in place to protect the public – undertaking a domestic spying program at the NSA without following the FISA process, sifting through financial records, and now, abusing National Security Letter authorities expanded in the USA PATRIOT Act. Tracking terrorists and thwarting attacks is absolutely essential, but when our law enforcement agents ignore the laws intended to protect Americans’ civil liberties, they undermine public confidence in our legal system and potentially ensnare innocent Americans in terrorism investigations.

“As I did after the March Inspector General’s report, I again call for Congress to hold public oversight hearings to examine the full extent of the FBI’s violations of the National Security Letter process and determine whether changes to the law are required to prevent such violations in the future. Democrats have been working hard to reassert Congress’ oversight powers that were dormant during Republican control of Congress, and this is another clear area where Congress must play a role in ensuring that the laws we pass are properly enforced on the ground.”

June 14, 2007

CONTACT: Jessica Schafer