Congress rethinking White House oversight

Dec. 17, 2005 at 9:35 PM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- Congress is reconsidering its oversight of the Bush administration in light of recent troubling disclosures, the Washington Post reports.

Lawmakers have been surprised by such recent developments as reports of secret U.S. prisons abroad, CIA detention overseas of innocent foreign nationals and last week's revelation that the military has been engaged in domestic spying. After five years in which the Republican-controlled House and Senate seldom looked into administration activities, Congress is now complaining about being in the dark, the newspaper said.

Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa. -- Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee -- said Friday that National Security Agency eavesdropping on communications in the United States was wrong and "can't be condoned at all." Specter suggested his committee might "undertake oversight on it."

Also on Friday, the House approved a resolution calling on the White House to provide House and Senate intelligence committees with classified reports on the secret U.S. prisons abroad.

Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, R-Va. -- chairman of the House Government Reform Committee -- told the Post Congress has not performed sufficient oversight.

"Republican Congresses tend to overinvestigate Democratic administrations and underinvestigate their own," said Davis. "I get concerned we lose our separation of powers when one party controls both branches."

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