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PCJF Files FOIA request with National Security Agency related to surveillance programs

Demands also sent to other federal agencies for disclosure of documents

Within hours of Edward Snowden’s courageous revelations about the U.S. government’s massive spying program against the people of the United States and the world, the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund sent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) demands to the National Security Agency (NSA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Intelligence (FBI) for documents related to the identification of mass surveillance programs, their scope, operating guidelines and procedures, the retention of data collected through such programs, and internal evaluations attempting to justify these programs’ legality and constitutionality.

The FOIA request reads in part: “The people of the United States have an urgent need for disclosure of the requested information regarding what appears to be the largest covert surveillance program directed against them in U.S. history. The U.S. government and its agencies that are carrying out these unprecedented surveillance programs are not entitled to hide these programs from the public.”

While the political officials responsible for the program claim that the public should accept the vast intrusion and violation of their rights, the FOIA request explains, “the people of the United States are entitled to learn what their government is doing and to challenge improper and illegal conduct rather than merely accept these official assertions.”

Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the PCJF, explained: “When the American people cast their votes in November 2012 for the President, the House of Representatives and Senate, they had no idea that these same officials were carrying out a massive spying operation against them. The program has been hidden from them for years, but the people have a right to know.”