Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Checks? Balances? Same Agencies to Run, Oversee Surveillance Program

Walter Pincus writes in The Washington Post:

The Bush administration plans to leave oversight of its expanded foreign eavesdropping program to the same government officials who supervise the surveillance activities and to the intelligence personnel who carry them out, senior government officials said yesterday.

The law, which permits intercepting Americans' calls and e-mails without a warrant if the communications involve overseas transmission, gives Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales responsibility for creating the broad procedures determining whose telephone calls and e-mails are collected. It also gives McConnell and Gonzales the role of assessing compliance with those procedures.

The law, signed Sunday by President Bush after being pushed through the Senate and House over the weekend, does not contain provisions for outside oversight -- unlike an earlier House measure that called for audits every 60 days by the Justice Department's inspector general.

More here.

Note: Also, take a moment to read this article over at Slate.com by Patrick R. Keefe, and this editorial today in The New York Times entitled "The Fear of Fear Itself".


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