WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, Rep. Ed Markey, a senior member of the House Homeland Security Committee and longtime co-chair of the Congressional Privacy Caucus, released letters to the Treasury Department; Homeland Security Chairman Peter King, and the Swift international banking consortium on the alarming secret program run by the Bush Treasury Department to monitor millions of Americans' financial records.  Markey is urging Chairman King to hold immediate investigations into the matter; is calling on the Bush Administration’s Treasury Secretary to fully explain the program; asking the international panel of corporate financial executives that handed over the data to disclose its reasoning behind cooperating with an Administration request without a warrant or judicial supervision.

Markey said, “In the Bush Administration there are no checks and balances to look at peoples’ checks and balances.”

"I am very concerned that the Bush Administration may be once again violating the Constitutional rights of innocent Americans as part of another secret program created in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks.  Like the domestic surveillance program exposed last December, the Bush Administration’s efforts to tap into the financial records of thousands of Americans appear to rely on justifications concocted without regard to current law in order to evade the checks against abuse that are built into requests for subpoenas and court-approved warrants.  

"If the Administration wants to fight terrorism legally, then it should ask for the authority it needs and then follow the law that Congress passes.  Instead, it appears to be engaged in a game of hide-the-ball in order to prolong the use of unconstitutional activities that cannot stand the light of day.  Don't claim 'temporary emergency' and then operate in secret for 5 years.

Rep. Markey's letters can be found by pointing your browsers to:

Markey Letter to Chairman King.pdf 

Markey Letter to CIA Director Hayden.pdf 

Letter to SWIFT.pdf 

Markey Letter to Secretary Snow.pdf

For more information on this and other privacy and security issues, please go to: http://markey.house.gov

June 20, 2006

CONTACT: Israel Klein