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GOP senator questions legality of domestic surveillance program

[JURIST] Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) [official website], a Republican member of the US Senate Intelligence Committee [official website], Sunday questioned the legitimacy of the Bush administration's domestic surveillance program [JURIST news archive], casting doubt on its legality in the absence of judicial or Congressional authority. Notwithstanding legal defenses of the intercepts by President Bush [JURIST report], Vice President Cheney [JURIST report], and the US Department of Justice [JURIST report], Hagel denied that the President was given broad "blank check" authority to conduct any kind of domestic spying, saying that "If in fact the president does believe that our current laws are restricting him because of new technologies...then he should come together with Congress and say we need to amend it." The Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] will hold hearings on the program beginning February 6. The Senate Intelligence Committee will also hold similar closed-door hearings. AP has more.

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