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CIA nominee suggests surveillance law could be modified

[JURIST] US Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) [official website] said Wednesday that General Michael Hayden [official profile], the Bush administration's nominee for CIA director [JURIST report] replacing Porter Goss, has suggested that he might welcome a modification to the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) [text] bringing the Bush administration's domestic surveillance [JURIST news archive] program within the scope of statutory authority. Hayden, the former National Security Agency (NSA) [official website] director, has been meeting with members of Congress regarding his nomination to take over the CIA, and both Republicans and Democrats have been concerned about the role he played in designing the current warrantless surveillance program.

President Bush and other officials have thusfar dismissed suggestions [JURIST report] that FISA should be changed to officially allow the NSA to listen in on conversations without a warrant, and Hayden previously agreed in order to avoid the release of US intelligence techniques. But Durbin said Hayden commented that he may be amenable to a congressional debate on the issue if he assumes the position as CIA head. AP has more.

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