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IP: Congress to Get Echelon Briefing

From: [email protected]
Subject: IP: Congress to Get Echelon Briefing
Date: Wed, 28 Oct 1998 11:10:30 -0600
To: [email protected]

Source:  Wired

Spying on the Spies
 by Niall McKay 

 12:55 p.m.27.Oct.98.PST
 A Washington DC civil liberties organization will
 send a detailed report on the National Security
 Agency's top-secret spying network to members
 of Congress later this week. 

 The report, Echelon: America's Spy in the Sky,
 details the known history and workings of the
 agency's global electronic surveillance system.
 The system is reportedly able to intercept,
 record, and translate any electronic
 communication -- such as telephone, data,
 cellular, fax, email, telex -- sent throughout the

 "There is a real and present threat to the
 security of the US from its enemies," said
 Patrick Poole, author of the report and deputy
 director of the Free Congress Foundation. "But
 there needs to be some democratic and
 constitutional oversight of how and against who
 the [Echelon] system is being used." 

 The Free Congress Foundation is hoping that
 Congress will scrutinize Echelon as carefully as
 the European Parliament has. The parliament
 commissioned several reports on Echelon earlier
 this year and the issue has been hotly debated
 ever since. 

 The NSA neither confirms nor denies Echelon's
 existence, but investigative journalists and civil
 liberties activists have turned up a number of
 details in recent years. 

 Glyn Ford, a British member of the European
 Parliament, said he sees the necessity of
 Echelon but, like Poole, he worries about the
 NSA's apparent lack of accountability. 

 "If we are going to leave the electronic key under
 the doormat, then we want an assurance that
 the people who pick up that key are not going to
 steal the family silver," said Ford. 
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