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Kennedy, Leahy introduce resolution on NSA domestic spying

[JURIST] In anticipation of US Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] hearings next month, Democratic Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA) [official website; press release] and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) [official website; press release] introduced a proposed Senate resolution [PDF text] Friday, criticizing the Bush administration's authorization of domestic surveillance [JURIST news archive] by the National Security Agency (NSA) [official website]. Presenting the administration's legal authorities [JURIST document] for the NSA's interception of international communications with suspected terrorists that originate in the US, the Justice Department earlier this week relied on the president's commander-in-chief powers and on a 2001 Congressional resolution [PDF text] authorizing the use of force against al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. The proposed resolution offered by Kennedy and Leahy would "set the record straight" that the 2001 resolution "does not authorize warrantless domestic surveillance of United States citizens." The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing on the NSA program for February 6, and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official profile] is expected to testify [JURIST report]. The administration has stepped up its defense of the program in recent days, with the release of the DOJ's legal basis for the program [JURIST report] and a speech by Vice President Dick Cheney [official website] vigorously defending the legality and importance [JURIST report] of the NSA program. AP has more.

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