RealNews

Broad Domestic Role Asked for C.I.A. and the Pentagon

The Bush administration and leading Senate Republicans sought today to give the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon far-reaching new powers to demand personal and financial records on people in the United States as part of foreign intelligence and terrorism operations, officials said. The proposal, which was beaten back, would have given the C.I.A. and the military the authority to issue administrative subpoenas — known as “national security letters” — requiring Internet providers, credit card companies, libraries and a range of other organizations to produce materials like phone records, bank transactions and e-mail logs. That authority now rests largely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the subpoenas do not require court approval. The surprise proposal was tucked into a broader intelligence authorization bill now pending before Congress. It set off fierce debate today in a closed-door meeting of the Senate Intelligence Committee, officials said. Democrats on the panel said they were stunned by the proposal because it appeared to expand significantly the role of the C.I.A. and the Pentagon in conducting domestic operations, despite a long history of tight restrictions, officials said. Full Story

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