Sunday, December 07, 2008

U.S. Congressional Panel to Call for Probe Into Wiretapping of Scholar

Eric Lichtblau and James Risen write in The New York Times:

A Congressional oversight panel plans to ask the National Security Agency to start an investigation into new evidence that the agency illegally wiretapped a Muslim scholar in Northern Virginia and concealed the eavesdropping during a 2005 trial in which the scholar was convicted on terrorism charges.

Representative Rush Holt, a New Jersey Democrat and chairman of the Select Intelligence Oversight Panel, said in an interview that he planned to ask the inspector general of the N.S.A. to open what would be the first formal investigation by the agency into whether its eavesdropping program had improperly interfered with an American’s right to a fair trial.

Mr. Holt said he was responding to new evidence presented to him and other Congressional leaders by the Muslim scholar’s lawyer indicating that the Bush administration tried to hide the full extent of the government’s illegal spying in the criminal case.

If the N.S.A. inspector general begins an inquiry, analysts said, that could also signal a new willingness by the agency, under a new administration, to examine its own operations in the eavesdropping program.

More here.


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