Specter On Domestic Spying: ˜There Has Been No Meaningful Congressional Oversight

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"Specter On Domestic Spying: ˜There Has Been No Meaningful Congressional Oversight"

    Yesterday, Bush said this in his weekly radio address:

    The intelligence activities I have authorized are lawful and have been briefed to appropriate members of Congress, both Republican and Democrat.

    Senate Judiciary Committee Arlen Specter (R-PA) disagreed with that assessment this morning. On Face the Nation, Specter said that Bush and others in the administration “still haven’t complied with the act to inform the full intelligence committees as required by law.”

    “[T]here really has to be in our system of law and government, checks and balance, separation of powers, congressional oversight,” Specter added, and “there has been no meaningful congressional oversight on these programs.”

    Full transcript:

    SCHIEFFER: Senator Specter, I know you were listening when I asked the question that you had posed and that is how can a congressional oversight committee give proper oversight to a program if you can’t find out what the program is? Did you get the answer you were looking for there?

    SPECTER: I did not get a satisfactory answer because when we called in the attorney general, and the judiciary committee has specific oversight over the department of justice and the attorney general, on our congressional oversight responsibility, we did not get answers.

    When Mr. Hadley says that the intelligence committees have been informed, that’s only partially so. When the program was put into effect, the so-called gang of eight was informed – that’s the leadership of both the house and senate and chairman and ranking on the intelligence committees. Now Bob, the statute requires that the committees, all of them, be informed. And they still haven’t been informed.

    After we put pressure on with our hearings and legislation which we proposed, the administration started to brief a subcommittee of intelligence and part of the house committee, 11 members, but they still haven’t complied with the act to inform the full intelligence committees as required by law. And there really has to be in our system of law and government, checks and balance, separation of powers, congressional oversight and bob, there has been no meaningful congressional oversight on these programs.

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