Watchdog groups that advocate on trade issues are demanding to know whether the National Security Agency has spied on them.
In a Tuesday letter, more than 30 advocacy groups asked the U.S. Trade Representative — the agency that handles trade negotiations — whether the office has used the NSA to conduct surveillance.
“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,” the groups wrote.
“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.”
U.S. surveillance programs put “core American principles ranging from the right to privacy to the right to petition our government … at stake," the letter said.