Friday, January 27, 2006

Scrutiny on surveillance issue backed, blocking renewal of the Patriot Act.

WASHINGTON - Sen. Chuck Hagel said he's troubled by President Bush's domestic spying program, but he's reserving final judgment until Congress holds hearings.

Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska joins a band of Republicans and most Democrats in blocking renewal of the Patriot Act.

"I'm very concerned by what I do know," Hagel, R-Neb., said Thursday in a conference call with reporters.

The Senate Intelligence Committee, of which Hagel is a member, will conduct its own inquiry, asking the Bush administration to explain why it has conducted domestic wiretapping without seeking federal warrants.

"There are going to be some tough questions asked," Hagel said.

Other Midlands lawmakers separately expressed concern about the surveillance and said they are looking forward to testimony by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who will appear next week before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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