Cheney, others served with subpoenas by wiretapping investigators
The Senate Judiciary Committee has served Vice President Dick Cheney and other officials in the White House and Justice Department with subpoenas over President George W. Bush's warrantless wiretapping programs.
"Over the past 18 months, this Committee has made no fewer than nine formal requests to the Department of Justice and to the White House, seeking information and documents about the authorization of and legal justification for this program," Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement released to RAW STORY. "All requests have been rebuffed. Our attempts to obtain information through testimony of Administration witnesses have been met with a consistent pattern of evasion and misdirection."
The subpoenas were authorized last week by the Judiciary Committee by a 13-3 vote, and target "documents related to authorization and reauthorization of the program or programs; the legal analysis or opinions about the surveillance; orders, decisions, or opinions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) concerning the surveillance; agreements between the Executive Branch and telecommunications or other companies regarding liability for assisting with or participating in the surveillance; and documents concerning the shutting down of an investigation of the Department of Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) relating to the surveillance," according to the release.
In the subpoena letters, Leahy made particular reference to the Bush administration's attempts to roll back existing oversight of the domestic spying program conducted through the National Security Agency.
"This Committee’s inquiry into this warrantless electronic surveillance is essential to the performance of its constitutional legislative and oversight responsibilities," he wrote. "The Administration has asked Congress to make sweeping changes to FISA – a crucial national security authority over which the Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction. It is impossible to make informed legislative decisions without understanding fully the Administration’s interpretation of FISA and the perceived flaws in that legislation that led the Administration to operate a program outside of its provisions for more than five years."
The letters were sent to the Justice Department, the Office of the White House, the Office of the Vice President, and the National Security Council. The recipients of the subpoenas are called on to comply with the subpoenas by July 18.