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White House rejects request for special counsel investigation of domestic spying

[JURIST] The Bush administration has rejected [press briefing transcript] a request by a group of House Democrats asking that a special counsel be appointed to investigate NSA spying [JURIST report] on people within the United States. In a letter [text] to President Bush Monday, the 18 legislators called for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to appoint a special counsel, arguing that any surveillance of suspected terrorists must be done within the scope of United States law. They claimed that it has been difficult to obtain information about the program, and suggested that the eavesdropping activities authorized by the NSA program are illegal and violate the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act [text].

Both the Justice and Defense departments have declined to open inquiries into the surveillance program [JURIST news archive], and the General Accountability Office, Congress's investigative arm, also refused to conduct an investigation into the program's practices. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] expressed outrage [press release] at the Bush administration's refusal to open an inquiry, suggesting that the reluctance to allow an inquiry further suggests the administration's guilt in breaking the law with the eavesdropping program. AP has more.

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