[JURIST] The US Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] issued formal subpoenas [press release] to the White House, the Vice President's Office, the Department of Justice, and the National Security Council [subpoenas, PDF] Wednesday, seeking documents related to the warrantless domestic surveillance program [JURIST news archive]. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) [official website] said the subpoenas were necessary because:
Over the past 18 months, this Committee has made no fewer than nine formal requests to the Department of Justice and to the White House, seeking information and documents about the authorization of and legal justification for this program. All requests have been rebuffed. Our attempts to obtain information through testimony of Administration witnesses have been met with a consistent pattern of evasion and misdirection.The subpoenas, issued in consultation with top committee Republican Sen. Arlen Spector (R-PA) [official website], require that the sought information be turned over to the committee before July 18 or, failing that, that the custodian of records appear before the committee that day. Last week, the Judiciary Committee voted 13-3 to authorize [press release] Leahy to issue subpoenas concerning the domestic surveillance program. Last Thursday, former US Attorney General John Ashcroft [official profile] testified before the US House Intelligence Committee during a closed-door hearing that officials within the Bush administration were divided [JURIST report] on the legality of the warrantless eavesdropping program. AP has more.