Representative Bob Barr Demands a Report on "Project Echelon"

Matthew Gaylor (
Mon, 15 Nov 1999 11:21:22 -0500

Representative Bob Barr Demands a Report on "Project Echelon" The following is a release from Rep. Barr's office:


WASHINGTON, DC -- According to reports to the European Parliament and others, a multi-national system known as Project Echelon intercepts phone calls, faxes, e-mails, and radio transmissions from around the world. Some two million such communications per hour are reportedly intercepted. This information is then reportedly routed to intelligence agencies, which search it for particular information of interest.

Under language Barr added to the Foreign Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2000, adopted today by the full House, the National Security Agency (NSA) which manages Project Echelon, the CIA and the Department of Justice, will have 60 days to report to Congress on the legal standards they use on communications intercepts involving American citizens.

"If American intelligence agencies are intercepting, receiving
or distributing communications involving our citizens without court orders, or legal authority, they are doing so outside the bounds of the Constitution. If Project Echelon exists as reported, all Americans who care about the integrity of our Constitution should be concerned," declared Barr.

"Everyone who places a high value on our right to privacy should
be encouraged the House of Representatives has today taken the first step toward requiring the Intelligence Community to prove adequate procedures are in place to protect that right," said Barr.

"I strongly encourage the Intelligence Community to prepare this
report using unclassified material whenever possible. As more and more Americans become concerned about threats to their privacy, the reassurances only a public report can provide are essential. Our intelligence agencies need public support to do their jobs effectively, and this amendment provides an important opportunity for them to boost that support by answering our questions honestly," Barr concluded.

Barr, a former CIA official and United States Attorney, serves on the House Judiciary and Government Reform Committees. Government Reform Chairman Dan Burton has also committed to hold hearings on this matter.

10 November 1999 Source: Excerpted from Conference Report on HR 1555, to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2000 for intelligence and intelligence-related activities of the United States Government:

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