Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Top senator challenges spy chief's credibility

WASHINGTON - A top US senator has joined a list of Democrats challenging the credibility of spy chief Michael McConnell, and accused the national intelligence director of unfairly criticising lawmakers.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy blasted McConnell for suggesting some members of the Democratic-led Congress fail to appreciate the threat of attack. Leahy also criticised McConnell for telling Congress earlier this month that open debate about US surveillance endangered lives.

"I hope we will not hear any more irresponsible rhetoric about congressional inquiries risking Americans' safety," Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, told McConnell at a hearing. "Our job is to protect Americans' security and Americans' rights."

Congress last month passed a law to expand for six months the power of the government to conduct surveillance without court approval while tracking suspected enemy targets........

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