Congress To Investigate CIA For Possible Violations Of National Security Act

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Mandy Simon, (202) 675-2312; media@dcaclu.org 

Congress To Investigate CIA For Possible Violations Of National Security Act

WASHINGTON - Members
of Congress have begun an investigation into allegations that the CIA
intentionally violated the National Security Act of 1947 by misleading
them about its intelligence activities and programs on several
occasions, including the agency’s use of torture and the destruction of
interrogation videotapes. The Act requires the president and his
intelligence agencies to keep Congress “fully and currently informed”
about all U.S. intelligence activities. House Intelligence Subcommittee
on Oversight and Investigations Chairwoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and
Subcommittee on Intelligence Community Management Chairwoman Anna Eshoo
(D-CA) will investigate the adequacy and truthfulness of the CIA’s
congressional briefings, spurred by the allegation earlier this year
that Congress was not notified about a Bush administration program to
assassinate top al Qaeda members.

The American Civil
Liberties Union strongly supports such an investigation given the
extreme importance of protecting Congress’ legal right to be informed
of programs that could impact constitutional and humanitarian rights.
Additionally, the ACLU is also urging the establishment of a select
committee with subpoena power to review past and present national
security laws and activities and help adopt fair standards for the
future.
 
A bill was
introduced in the House earlier this year that would establish such a
committee. The Select Committee on National Security and Civil
Liberties Act of 2009, introduced by Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA),
Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) and Robert Wexler (D-FL), would
study the development, implementation and effectiveness of past and
present U.S. government practices.
 
The following can be attributed to Michael Macleod-Ball, Acting Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:
 
“Congress cannot
perform its constitutional obligations if the CIA or any part of the
executive branch deliberately withholds crucial details or, worse,
knowingly provides false information to it, and we must find out if
this has occurred. Congress has a duty to fulfill its own investigatory
role and must serve as a check on the other two branches. We commend
members who have undertaken to vigorously pursue full disclosure of
executive branch abuses – but more is needed.
 
“When Congress can’t
perform its oversight role because it does not have all the facts, the
only thing Americans can count on is that their rights are no longer
secure. Americans deserve to know what is done in their name and to be
involved in and informed about the debate over the limits of
governmental power, and Congress plays a crucial role in protecting
that flow of information.”
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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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