Questions, So Many Questions

From Holden:

Sen. Arlen Specter sent Abu Al Gonzales a letter today outlining the questions he would like the Attorney General to address in his opening statement at the Judiciary Committee hearing set for Feb. 6.

A sample:

(1) In interpreting whether Congress intended to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by the September 14,2001 Resolution (Resolution), would it be relevant on the issue of Congressional intent that the Administration did not specifically ask for an expansion for Executive powers under FISA? Was it because you thought you couldn’t get such an expansion as when you said: “That was not something that we could likely get?”

(2) If Congress had intended to amend FISA by the Resolution, wouldn’t Congress have specifically acted to as Congress did in passing the Patriot Act giving the Executive expanded powers and greater flexibility in using “roving” wiretaps?


(4) In interpreting statutory construction on whether Congress intended to amend FISA by the Resolution, what would be the impact of the rule of statutory construction that specific statutory language, like that in FISA, trumps or takes precedence over more general pronouncements like those of the Resolution?

(5) Why did the Executive not ask for the authority to conduct electronic surveillance when Congress passed the Patriot Act and was predisposed, to the maximum extent likely, to grant the Executive additional powers which the Executive thought necessary?

(6) Wasn’t President Carter’s signature on FISA in 1978,together with his signing statement, an explicit renunciation of any claim to inherent Executive authority under Article II of the Constitution to conduct warrantless domestic surveillance when the Act provided the exclusive procedures for such surveillance?

(7) Why didn’t the President seek a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court authorizing in advance the electronic surveillance in issue?


(8) Why did the Executive Branch not seek after-the-fact authorization from the FISA Court within the 72 hours as provided by the Act?


(11) How can the Executive justify disclosure to only the so-called “Gang of Eight” instead of the full intelligence committees when Title V of the National Security Act of 1947 provides…


(14) What academic or expert opinions does the Executive rely upon in asserting Article II powers to conduct the electronic surveillance at issue?