Specter seeks court OK of NSA spy program

Feb. 9, 2006 at 11:32 AM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., announced he is writing legislation to force the White House to defend the legality of a domestic spying program before a court.

Specter, speaking Wednesday in the Senate, said his proposed legislation would put the question of a National Security Agency program, which the Bush administration said is important in the war on terror, before a special U.S. intelligence court.

President Bush authorized the NSA to monitor communications of suspected terrorists, even if those messages were in the United States. While the program is several years old and selected members of Congress knew of it, an article in The New York Times last year made it public. Since then, members of Congress from both parties have questioned the legality of the program.

The White House has consistently said the president acted within his powers in authorizing the spying. The Washington Post reported the current head of the Foreign Surveillance Court has also expressed concerns.

Specter, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wants the FISA court to determine if the NSA is acting legally.

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