Gardner Demands Answers on Privacy Rights

Washington, D.C. – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) today wrote a letter to the White House on the subject of recent reports of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) amassing a large database of phone calls made by United States citizens. The letter reads, in part:

The American people deserve transparency in government and every Administration must be held accountable for its actions, whether they relate to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Department of Justice (DOJ), or other federal agencies. As such, I have several questions for you regarding the newly uncovered information from DEA and your Administration’s approach to privacy more generally:

  1. What legal justification did DEA rely on to initiate this collection program?
  2. Did the legal justification ever change during the course of this DEA program?
  3. Was the information stored in DEA’s database obtained with either the consent of the targeted citizen or a warrant?
  4. Under what circumstances, if any, does your Administration believe it is appropriate to limit Americans’ constitutional right to privacy?
  5. Which other federal agencies, aside from those already publicly known, are actively collecting and storing Americans’ personal information without their knowledge, consent, or a properly issued warrant? Including vehicle license plates or other personal identification information?

Years of executive overreach by both Democrat and Republican administrations has led our country to the point where Americans have to worry about their privacy as well as their security. I hope that your Administration is willing to work with me and my colleagues in Congress to secure privacy rights and stop this dangerous pattern. I look forward to your answers to my questions and your prompt response.

Note: The full text of the letter can be read here.