Reps. Markey, Dingell and Stupak also ask privacy advocates for their input

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As new questions are raised about the legality of the Bush administration’s wiretapping program, Representatives Edward J. Markey (D-MA), John D. Dingell (D-MI) and Bart Stupak (D-MI) today sent letters to AT&T, Verizon and Qwest regarding their compliance or not with requests from the National Security Agency (NSA) for access to telephone records of millions of their customers without the customers’ knowledge or consent.

The congressmen also sent letters to privacy advocates requesting the advocates’ opinion of the recent revisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act enacted in Public Law 110-55, the “Protect America Act.”

“As reports about government intelligence agencies running roughshod over telecommunications privacy laws continue to surface, I have grown more and more concerned that the rights of consumers are being lost in shuffle. Protecting the homeland is vital, but such efforts should not undermine the essential privacy rights of American citizens,” said Rep. Markey, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet

“Since the Bush Administration has been unwilling to discuss adequately this situation, I hope these telecommunications companies will be more forthcoming about the circumstances in which they have disclosed consumer information. I also look forward to hearing the opinion of privacy advocates on these policies.”

Rep. Markey has been pressing Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin J. Martin to investigate widespread and serious allegations of telecommunications privacy laws violations by the NSA and other entities since May of 2006. In March of this year, Chairman Martin revealed that he had written a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, dated March 6, 2007, to obtain the viewpoint of the Department of Justice as to whether the FCC could begin an investigation. In September, after six months of waiting for the Department of Justice to respond to Chairman Martin, Rep. Markey again asked the FCC to move forward with its own investigation.

“The continued reports of government intelligence agencies circumventing privacy laws make it clear that the FCC should not wait any longer to initiate an investigation. The FCC, as an independent agency, has a duty to help get to the bottom of what has transpired between the Bush Administration and our nation’s major telephone companies,” said Rep. Markey.

Letter to AT&T
Letter to Qwest
Letter to Verizon

Letter to American Civil Liberties Union
Letter to Center for Democracy and Technology
Letter to Computer & Communications Industry Association
Letter to Electronic Frontier Foundation
Letter to electronic Privacy Information Center



October 2, 2007

CONTACT: Jessica Schafer, 202.225.2836