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Secret spy court seeks NSA program answers

Dec. 22, 2005 at 12:28 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Judges on a court overseeing U.S. government intelligence matters set a meeting with Bush administration officials on spying on people in the United States.

Last week The New York Times reported the National Security Agency, acting on orders from President George Bush, was monitoring telephone calls and e-mail communication in the United States. Bush has said the program is constitutional since one end of the watched conversation was in a foreign country.

But judges on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, led by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, say they plan to ask Justice Department and National Security Agency personnel about the legality of the program, The Washington Post reported Thursday. The newspaper said Kollar-Kotelly sent e-mail to her FISA court colleagues about a meeting, probably next month in Washington, about the program.

The Post earlier reported one of the 10 FISA judges had resigned because of the NSA program.

Some legislators have asked why the administration didn't use the FISA court for the NSA program, since it was set up in the 1970s to deal with intelligence questions and issue warrants -- sometimes after the fact -- for some surveillance.

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