Analysis: September's Battle Lines
Council on Foreign Relations
September 4, 2007
Prepared by: Robert McMahon
Leaders of the Democratic-majority Congress received an earful from liberal members of their party after moderate House and Senate Democrats helped approve the Protect America Act before the break. The legislation expanded warrantless eavesdropping on suspected terrorists contacting sources in the United States through Internet and phone communications. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has vowed to quickly revisit the measure, which expires in six months. Separately, senior Democratic lawmakers want to probe possible wrongdoing by the office of outgoing Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales in initiating the surveillance program, a matter the Justice Department's inspector general (IHT) says he will investigate. Democrats are also expected to push for closing the prison for “war on terror” detainees in Guantanamo Bay, as well as to press for Congress to approve giving terrorist suspects the right to court trials. Top Bush administration officials have said they would like to close the prison, but the issue is complicated by the difficulty in resettling inmates in their countries of origin, says State Department Legal Counsel John Bellinger.
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