Policy Letter

Groups Ask for Transparency Around Possible Trade Policy Surveillance

November 12, 2013

General Keith Alexander


National Security Agency

9800 Savage Rd.

Fort Meade, MD 20755

The Honorable Michael Froman

United States Trade Representative

600 17th Street, NW

Washington, DC 20508

Dear General Alexander and Ambassador Froman,

The New York Times reports on November 3 that wide-reaching efforts by the National Security Agency to collect data are driven in part by the agency's "customers" -- a range of other government agencies that includes the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

In light of this and other disclosures, we are writing to ask if the NSA, or other national security agencies, have surveilled any U.S. organizations or individuals advocating on U.S. trade policy. We ask you to disclose any such surveillance, whether or not it occurred at the request of USTR; whether or not it involved communications with foreign nationals; and whether or not it occurred within U.S. borders.

Core American principles ranging from the right to privacy to the right to petition our government are at stake. Simply put, we believe that our organizations -- as well as all others advocating on trade policy matters -- have right to an assurance that their operations are not under surveillance by U.S. government agencies. We trust you agree.

We look forward to your reply.

Access (AccessNow.org)

American Medical Student Association

Center for Digital Democracy

Center for Effective Government

Center for Financial Privacy and Human Rights

Center for Food Safety

Center for International and Environmental Law

Center for Media and Democracy

Center for Rights

Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in

Washington (CREW)

Citizens Trade Campaign

Coalition for Sensible Safeguards

Communication Workers of America

Consumer Action

Consumer Federation of America

Consumer Watchdog

Defending Dissent Foundation

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Fight for the Future

Food & Water Watch

Friends of the Earth, U.S.

Friends of Privacy USA

Government Accountability Project


Health GAP

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

Just Foreign Policy

Knowledge Ecology International

National Legislative Association on Prescription Drug Prices


Organic Consumers Association

Privacy Times

Project On Government Oversight (POGO)

Public Citizen

Public Knowledge

Sunlight Foundation


World Privacy Forum