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Panel on Eavesdropping Is Briefed by White House-By Walter Pincus

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kpete Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 08:13 AM
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Panel on Eavesdropping Is Briefed by White House-By Walter Pincus
Panel on Eavesdropping Is Briefed by White House

By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 10, 2006; Page A04


Members of the Senate subcommittee -- which, along with Roberts and Rockefeller, includes Republicans Mike DeWine (Ohio), Orrin G. Hatch (Utah) and Christopher S. Bond (Mo.) and Democrats Carl M. Levin (Mich.) and Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) -- will not be able to share what they learn with the other eight members of the intelligence panel, according to rules the White House has proposed.

The subcommittee visit to the NSA's Fort Meade headquarters will come a little more than a week after Rockefeller went there on his own to get answers to 450 questions he had sent earlier to the agency. Rockefeller is one of the few lawmakers who have been briefed on the NSA program over the past three years. The program has troubled the senator since his first briefing in 2003, when he sent a classified letter about his doubts to Vice President Cheney.

After spending almost seven hours last week getting answers from more than a dozen NSA lawyers, policymakers and technicians, Rockefeller said in a Tuesday interview that he learned "much, much more" in that session than in briefings at the White House, where the sessions "were flip-chart jobs and not very impressive."

Some questions that Rockefeller said he hopes the subcommittee will cover are "How many phone calls are listened to and e-mails read without court warrants; how many Americans are a party to these calls and e-mails; why this electronic surveillance without a warrant is necessary; and the extent to which eavesdropping being undertaken in the U.S. for the past 4 1/2 years has actually resulted in the arrest and prosecution of terrorists."
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