Democrats and Republicans want congressional investigations into President Bush’s decision after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to allow domestic eavesdropping without court approval, reports the Associated Press. “The president has, I think, made up a law that we never passed,” said Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wi.) Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, intends to hold hearings. “They talk about constitutional authority,” Specter said. “There are limits as to what the president can do.”
President Bush and other administration officials also have said congressional leaders had been briefed regularly on the program. “It doesn’t matter if you tell everybody in the whole country if it’s against the law,” said Feingold. The existence of the eavesdropping program surfaced as Bush was fighting to save the expiring provisions of the USA Patriot Act, the domestic anti-terrorism law enacted after the Sept. 11 attacks. Renewal of the law has stalled over contentious provisions, including powers granted law enforcement to gain secret access to library and medical records and other personal data during investigations of suspected terrorism.