WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- Republicans and Democratic members of Congress are calling for a look into reports President Bush authorized warrantless spying within the United States.
The Washington Post reports both Bush and Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez didn't specifically acknowledge the surveillance, but said no laws were broken.
On Capitol Hill the news broke Friday during a debate over reauthorizing portions of the Patriot Act, the post-Sept. 11, 2001, law to give the federal government more leeway in conducting searches. It has been under fire by civil libertarians and most Democratic members of Congress.
Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., chairman of the Judiciary Committee, called the alleged spying inappropriate and assisted opponents of the Patriot Act in the Senate defeat the reauthorization.
Specter called for hearings on the alleged domestic spying.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a member of the intelligence and judiciary committees, called the domestic spying report "the most significant thing I have heard in my 12 years" in the Senate.
The New York Times broke the story Thursday that the National Security Agency allegedly spied on hundreds, possibly thousands of U.S. citizens and other residents of the country.
The Washington Post reports the surveillance started before Bush gave the go-ahead in 2002.