From James Kuhnhenn, Knight Ridder Newspapers:
WASHINGTON - Republicans in Congress are trying to limit the scope of any investigation into how President Bush's secret domestic-surveillance program has operated. Some key lawmakers are also working to legalize such spying on U.S. citizens in the future, perhaps with some judicial restrictions.
The dual-track effort is designed to protect the Bush administration from an all-out congressional inquiry into the secret program, while rejecting Bush's argument that he already has full legal authority to order such surveillance.
The Senate Intelligence Committee is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a Democratic plan to conduct a broad investigation into the program. Committee chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., is trying to win support for a more limited inquiry. Roberts refused to say Monday whether he had the votes to forestall the Democratic demand for an investigation. Democrats need only one Republican to side with them to order such a probe. ***
The partisan clash over the scope of an investigation prompted Senate Republican Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee last week to demand a meeting with Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. He also threatened to restructure the Intelligence Committee in a way that would weaken Democrats.
Reid on Monday dismissed Frist's call for talks.
"Let's have the Intelligence Committee do its work," Reid said. "I believe that we should see if Senator Roberts, who is a man of his word, is going to allow a vote on whether there should be an investigation. So when that' s completed ... I'll be happy to consider a meeting, but until then, what's there to meet about?"
They buried the lead in the fifth paragraph, but at least SOMEONE in the MSM finally caught the story. Of course, they're the professionals, and blogs aren't news...
You still have a couple of hours to make your voice heard -- the meeting is at 2:30 pm ET. Everything you need to know about the status of the fight and how to contact the key players -- Snowe, Hagel, Roberts -- can be found right here. Fight on!
(Last updated Tuesday March 7, 12:33 pm ET)
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