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Breaking: Domestic Surveillance Docs Subpoenaed

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"Breaking: Domestic Surveillance Docs Subpoenaed"

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The Senate Judiciary Committee has subpoenaed the White House, Vice President Dick Cheney’s office, the Justice Department, and the National Security Council for documents related to President Bush’s warrantless domestic surveillance program. AP reports:

Also named in subpoenas signed by committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., were the Justice Department and the National Security Council.

The committee wants documents that might shed light on internal squabbles within the administration over the legality of the program, said a congressional official speaking on condition of anonymity because the subpoenas had not been made public.

Leahy’s committee authorized the subpoenas previously as part of its sweeping investigation into how much influence the White House exerts over the Justice Department and its chief, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

The probe, in its sixth month, began with an investigation into whether administration officials ordered the firings of eight federal prosecutors, for political reasons.

UPDATE: Statement from the Senate Judiciary Committee:

Chairman Leahy issued subpoenas to the Department of Justice, the Office of the White House, the Office of the Vice President and the National Security Council for documents relating to the Committee’s inquiry into the warrantless electronic surveillance program. [...]

“Over the past 18 months, this Committee has made no fewer than nine formal requests to the Department of Justice and to the White House, seeking information and documents about the authorization of and legal justification for this program,” Chairman Leahy wrote in letters accompanying the subpoenas to Bush Administration officials. “All requests have been rebuffed. Our attempts to obtain information through testimony of Administration witnesses have been met with a consistent pattern of evasion and misdirection.”

UPDATE II: The committee vote was 13-3, with all Democrats and Sens. Arlen Specter (R-PA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Charles Grassley (R-IA) voting for subpoenas.

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