A report by a research arm of Congress on Friday concluded the
administration’s justification for eavesdropping authorized by
President George W. Bush conflicts with existing law, the Washington
Post reported on Saturday.
The Congressional Research Services
report, the first nonpartisan findings on the program to date, rejects
key assertions made by Bush and Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales
about the president’s authority to order the eavesdropping into
telephone calls and e-mails, the paper wrote.
The 44-page CRS
report said that Bush likely cannot claim the broad presidential powers
he has relied upon as authority to order the secret monitoring of phone
calls made by U.S. citizens since the fall of 2001.
A 1978 law,
the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, forbids domestic spying on
U.S. citizens without the approval of a special court. In the wake of
the September 11 attacks, Bush secretly authorized the National
Security Agency to intercept communications without court approval.
of the administration warn that civil liberties could be jeopardized by
government eavesdropping practices that avoid judicial oversight.
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