U.S. National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell has revealed some details of a secret domestic eavesdropping program which sparked an uproar on Capitol Hill after it was disclosed in late 2005.
In an interview last week with El Paso Times, a Texas-based newspaper, McConnel disclosed that the program was monitoring communications of less than 100 people inside the United States and eavesdropping thousands of foreign calls connected via equipment on U.S. soil.
Transcripts of the interview were posted on the newspaper's Website on Wednesday.
"On the U.S. persons side it's 100 or less. And then the foreign side, it's in the thousands," he said.
McConnel said that warrants should not be needed for intelligence agencies to monitor foreign-to-foreign calls transmitted through the United States, but a warrant must be required for surveillance against calls with one party inside the United States.
He said that it would need 200 hours for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which approves requests to eavesdrop calls inside the country, to assemble a warrant on a single telephone number.
U.S. President George W. Bush authorized a domestic eavesdropping program shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks that allows the National Security Agency to monitor, without court warrants, international telephone calls and e-mails of people inside the United States with "suspected ties to al Qaida."
The program, first revealed in December 2005, has been criticized by Democrats and some Republicans who believe that Bush may have overstepped his constitutional authority and violated a 1978 law.
Early this month, Congress passed a bill to expand temporarily the government's powers in eavesdropping communications of foreign suspects without court warrants.
Last Mod: 23 Ağustos 2007, 14:20