WASHINGTON -- Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Arlen Specter declared yesterday that Congress would launch hearings to investigate a report that President Bush secretly authorized warrantless spying on US citizens following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
''There is no doubt that this is inappropriate," said Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania. He added that the hearings would be ''a very, very high priority" when Congress returns from its winter break in January.
Thankfully, there is at least one or two sane republicans left in the Senate. Best of all, Arlen Specter is in a position to be able to do something about this as chair of the senate judiciary committee.
And Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, said: ''This is Big Brother run amok. . . . With these new developments, we must take a step back and not rush the Patriot Act, further risking our civil protections."
The New York Times reported yesterday that Bush had secretly ordered the National Security Agency to intercept international phone calls and e-mails by US citizens. The report said Bush authorized the NSA to spy on as many as 500 citizens at a time without obtaining warrants.