Congressional leaders decline to probe NSA surveillance program

[JURIST] The Republican leaders of two key Congressional committees said Thursday that they would not undertake direct probes of the president's NSA warrantless surveillance program [JURIST news archive]. The US House Intelligence Committee [official website] said it would conduct a review of federal surveillance laws but its members are already disagreeing about the scope of their inquiry. Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM) [official website], who has called for changes [JURIST report] to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) [text] so that proper congressional oversight may be given to the NSA program, has suggested that the committee's investigation will have "multiple avenues," but chairman Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) [official website], has indicated that the committee will not focus on the NSA operation.

The Senate Intelligence Committee [official website], meanwhile, has similarly decided not to investigate the eavesdropping program [NYT report] for now because, as committee chairman Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) [official website] explained, "such an investigation is currently unwarranted and would be detrimental to this highly classified program." Earlier Thursday, Roberts indicated that he had reached "an agreement in principle" with the White House [AP report] on a proposal that would provide "a fix" to FISA and allow increased congressional briefings on the NSA program, but said that details are still being worked out. The New York Times has more.

 

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