Senate panel nixes Bush surveillance probe

March 8, 2006 at 7:36 AM

WASHINGTON, March 8 (UPI) -- A Republican-dominated U.S. Senate committee has sided with U.S. President George Bush and voted down a probe of his use of warrantless wiretapping.

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence voted down the Democratic proposal and instead approved establishing a seven-member sub-committee to oversee the effort, The Washington Post reported.

The agreement was created after weeks of negotiations between Vice President Dick Cheney and Republicans critical of the program. It won the support of Republican Sens. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Olympia Snowe of Maine, who had threatened to support a fuller inquiry if the White House did not disclose more about the program to Congress, The New York Times said.

The panel's vice chairman, Sen. John Rockefeller, D-W.Va., criticized what he described as White House interference.

"The committee is, to put it bluntly, basically under the control of the White House through its chairman," he told reporters. The committee chairman is Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan.

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