Lawmakers put domestic surveillance bills high on agenda

Lawmakers put domestic surveillance bills high on agenda

[JURIST] Back from their summer recess, US House and Senate lawmakers are considering bills this week that address the legality of the Bush administration's domestic surveillance program [JURIST news archive], which involves warrantless wiretapping by the National Security Agency [official website]. The House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security [official website] Wednesday considered [hearing materials] a bill [summary] proposed by US Rep. Heather Wilson [official website] (R-NM) Wednesday. Wilson's legislation would update the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act [text], most notably increasing the time period in which the government can conduct surveillance before obtaining a secret warrant from three to five days. US Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) [official website] has sponsored one of several bills to be taken up in committee Thursday which would increase the secret warrant time limit from three to seven days and require progress reports from the US attorney general twice a year.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Steven Bradbury [SourceWatch profile] said President Bush has tentatively offered his support for the Republican legislation to be introduced in the House and Senate. AP has more.