Second hearing in the Judiciary Committee?
Shaun Waterman reports:
Arlen Specter, the Pennsylvania Republican who chairs the US Senate Committee on the Judiciary is a very busy man these days.
He has just finished a week-long series of hearings on the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito to the US Supreme Court, and staff are preparing the ground for a second hearing later this year into the controversial Able Danger program - a top-secret military data mining project, some of whose alumni now claim to have identified the ringleaders of the 11 September 2001 suicide hijackings as much as a year before the attacks.
And on Wednesday, Specter formally announced a hearing into the legality of a White House-authorized program of secret, warrantless eavesdropping on Americans contacting or being contacted from foreign telephone numbers or email addresses thought to be linked to al-Qaida suspects. One witness is Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who, in his prior job of White House counsel, reportedly produced the administration’s legal justification for the program in the first place.
Specter has already said he thought the reasoning the administration was using to defend the program - initiated immediately after the 9/11 terror attacks by the National Security Agency, or NSA - was “wrong”.