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Specter Criticizes Rationale for Spying


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By HOPE YEN Associated Press Writer

Sen. Arlen Specter said Sunday he believes that President Bush violated a 1978 law specifically calling for a secret court to consider and approve such monitoring. The Pennsylvania Republican branded Gonzales’ explanations to date as “strained and unrealistic.”

The top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, predicted that the committee would have to subpoena the administration to obtain internal documents that lay out the legal basis for the program. Justice Department officials have declined, citing in part the confidential nature of legal communications.

Specter said he would have his committee consider such a step if the attorney general does not go beyond his prior statements and prepared testimony that the spying is legal, necessary and narrowly defined to fight terrorists.

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