Both the Senate Intelligence and Juciciary Committees are eager to hold hearings on Chimpy’s extra-constitutional snooping. Judiciary’s witness list will include Abu Al Gonzales, John Asscroft and James Comey.
The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said Sunday that he has asked Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales to testify publicly on the legality of warrantless eavesdropping on telephone conversations between suspected terrorists and others in the United States.
A prominent conservative on the committee said he is troubled by the legal arguments the Bush administration has presented for establishing the National Security Agency program.
GOP Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas said, “There was no discussion in anything that I was around that gave the president a broad surveillance authority with that resolution.”
The committee chairman, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), said senators will examine that issue and other legal questions in hearings scheduled for early February. Gonzales’ testimony is being sought because he is the principal spokesman for the administration’s position, Specter said.
Asked on CBS’s “Face the Nation” whether Gonzales had agreed to appear, Specter said, “Well, I didn’t ask him if he had agreed. I told him we were holding the hearings, and he didn’t object. I don’t think he has a whole lot of choice on testifying.”
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) called for former Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft and former Deputy Atty. Gen. James Comey to testify at the hearings.
The top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee said the hearings would provide the type of oversight that has been lacking.
“We made it very clear what the president could do . . . also made it very clear what the president could not do. And he cannot do illegal spying on Americans,” said Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy.