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A battle over intelligence


Sen. Pat Roberts is in the middle of another controversy about America's intelligence gathering.This time it's revelations that the Bush Administration bypassed Congress and the courts on the way to authorizing wiretaps of U.S. citizens suspected of terror connections.Roberts, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, on Monday defended the program. On Tuesday, he criticized the panel's vice chairman, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who said he had expressed concern about the program back in 2003.[The Washington Times][1] reports: "'In his letter ... Senator Rockefeller asserts that he had lingering concerns about the program designed to protect the American people from another attack, but was prohibited from doing anything about it;' Mr. Roberts said in a statement yesterday. 'A United States Senator has significant tools with which to wield power and influence over the executive branch. Feigning helplessness is not one of those tools.'"The Times adds: " Mr. Roberts accused Mr. Rockefeller of political opportunism. "'Now, when it appears to be politically advantageous, Senator Rockefeller has chosen to release his two and a half year old letter,' he said. 'Forgive me if I find this to be ... a bit disingenuous.'"[USA Today:][2] "Roberts countered that as recently as two weeks ago, Rockefeller had expressed to Cheney his 'vocal support' for the surveillance, a claim Rockefeller denied."News of the wiretapping program is drawing comment from other members of the Kansas delegation, [The Topeka Capital Journal][3] reports: "'There's going to be a more open review about where the legal justification comes from,' said Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan. 'I believe it's there, from what I can tell.'"Tiahrt, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said some members of Congress would use the hearings to bolster their political stature."Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., said work of the federal government in the fight against terrorism 'has to be done legally.'"He wasn't prepared to declare whether the president's initiative fell within U.S. law but said he believes domestic surveillance should be conducted with the approval of a judge."Other links today:Sam Brownback links[(Agape Press) Commentary & News Briefs:][4] The opposition forces are mustering for January 2006's confirmation fight over U.S. Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito. Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas has been watching as the anti-Alito camp grows. "The Wall Street Journal reported that environmental groups are mobilizing against Alito, even though they stayed out of the Roberts nomination. They're joining other liberal activist groups in opposing Alito," Brownback contends. However, he believes America will soon realize that Bush's latest Supreme Court nominee is an outstanding choice.[(Washington Times) Tax Foes:][5] Thirteen Republican senators have written to the leaders of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee, demanding that new taxes on U.S. oil companies be removed from the Katrina Emergency Tax Relief Act of 2005. ... The letter was signed by Republicans ... Sam Brownback of Kansas.[(UPI) Poles pressed to compensate:][6] American lawmakers Monday called on the Polish government to legislate redress for those who suffered property confiscation under the Nazis and the Communists. "We welcome the passage earlier this year of a bill to provide some compensation for individuals who suffered wrongful confiscations in areas east of the Bug River. But, the fact remains that Poland is the only country in central Europe that has failed to adopt a general private property compensation or restitution law," said Helsinki Commission Chairman Senator Sam Brownback, R-Kan.Jim Ryun links[(The Hill) Reps. Crenshaw and Ryun in marathon run for Budget gavel:][7] The race for the House Budget Committee gavel is shaping up early as a one-on-one marathon between Reps. Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.) and Jim Ryun (R-Kan.), but there are other potential runners watching for a stumble. The Budget chairmanship is a perennially sought-after prize for lawmakers looking to boost their public profiles. Chairman Jim Nussle (R-Iowa) has built on the prominence he has gained during a yearlong reconciliation fight and is now campaigning for governor in his home state.How to contact As always, you can find information to contact members of the Kansas congressional delegation [here.][8] [1]: http://washingtontimes.com/national/20051220-104540-2897r.htm [2]: http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2005-12-20-intel-oversight_x.htm [3]: http://cjonline.com/stories/122105/kan_roberts.shtml [4]: http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/12/202005h.asp [5]: http://washingtontimes.com/national/20051220-121652-2130r.htm [6]: http://www.upi.com/InternationalIntelligence/view.php?StoryID=20051219-034620-4105r [7]: http://www.hillnews.com/thehill/export/TheHill/News/Frontpage/121405/gavel.html [8]: http://ljworld.com/extra/where_to_write.html#fed


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