Specter promises thorough probe of domestic surveillance program

[JURIST] US Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) [official website] Sunday promised a thorough congressional probe into President Bush's domestic surveillance program [JURIST news archive]. Specter denied that the President was given a "blank check" to conduct any kind of domestic spying, but downplayed the possibility of impeachment over the issue as "the president is making a good faith effort, that he sees a real problem as we all do, and he's acting in a way that he feels he must." Specter disagrees with the Bush administration's view that Congress' authorization of military force after the September 11 attacks includes eavesdropping on US citizens, but he warned that presidential war powers under the US Constitution [text] might supersede that law. Lawmakers, legal scholars and human rights groups have questioned the authority of the program and its constitutionality. The US Department of Justice [JURIST report] and the Senate [JURIST report] are currently conducting investigations into the warrantless wiretaps. Senate Judiciary Committee hearings scheduled for next month will include testimony [JURIST report] from US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official profile]. Reuters has more.



 

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