Last updated: February 21, 2008 - 9:53am
DEMOCRATS DEFY BUSH, APPROVE SPY BILL
[SOURCE: Reuters, AUTHOR: Thomas Ferraro and Randall Mikkelsen]
In defiance of President George W. Bush (R), the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday voted to bolster civil-liberty safeguards in his anti-terror spying program and refused to shield phone companies from pending lawsuits. In a 20-14 vote, the Committee approved legislation to ensure congressional and secret-court oversight of the surveillance of enemy targets. The measure would require the administration to obtain one-year "blanket warrants" from the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to monitor telephone calls or e-mails of suspected terrorists when they involve a U.S. citizen. It would not require individual warrants to listen in on Americans communicating with terrorists, unless the U.S. citizen is also a specific target of the surveillance. No warrant would be needed to monitor foreign suspects speaking to each other overseas. Pending consideration of the bill by the House Intelligence Committee, which worked on it behind closed doors, Democrats hope to get it before the full House for passage next week. The Senate Intelligence Committee is working on its own measure.
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