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Senators express frustration with NSA surveillance program at second hearing

[JURIST] Members of the US Senate Judiciary Committee holding a second hearing [agenda materials] Tuesday on the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance program [JURIST news archive] appeared frustrated by the lack of information released by the Bush administration. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) [official website] accused the White House [text] of "running roughshod over the Constitution and hiding behind inflammatory rhetoric demanding Americans blindly trust every one of its decisions." Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) [official website] also expressed dissatisfaction with White House refusal to even offer a broad explanation of the initiative, which his committee has now been investigating for several weeks. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales appeared before the Committee earlier this month [JURIST report]. CNET has more.

Specter is preparing a bill [JURIST report] that would require the government to revise its procedures in conducting surveillance and provide more information about the NSA program to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Professor Ken Gormley of Pittsburgh's Duquesne University Law School, one of six legal experts to testify at the hearing, expressed concern with the amount of executive power being claimed by the Bush administration. He supports Senator Specter's approach, saying that it would give the Bush administration power to fight the war on terror while staying within the bounds of the Constitution. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has more.

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