Key Democrat says limited NSA surveillance briefings violated law

[JURIST] US Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) [official profile], the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee [official website], told President Bush in a letter Wednesday that the White House violated the National Security Act [text] when it withheld information pertaining to the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance program [JURIST news archive] from full congressional oversight committees. Harman said the National Security Act requires that intelligence agencies keep the entire House and Senate intelligence committees "fully and currently informed of the intelligence activities of the United States," unless it is a highly classified covert action, defined as an operation to influence political, economic or military conditions of another country. Harmon added that the NSA's warrantless surveillance program does not qualify as a covert action. In response to Harman's letter, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said the White House believed Congress was appropriately briefed. House Intelligence Chairman Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) [official profile] said Harmon had not previously raised concerns about the number of people briefed. AP has more.



 

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