Bid to curb spy laws draws ire in Congress

October 10, 2007|By Siobhan Gorman

WASHINGTON -- Republicans and some Democrats assailed yesterday a new Democratic proposal that would roll back some of the expanded spy powers that Congress passed into law in August.

"Despite a very real terror threat, the House Democrats' proposal handcuffs our terror fighters trying to protect American families at home and troops overseas," said Sen. Christopher S. Bond of Missouri, the senior Republican on the Senate intelligence panel.

Rep. Rush D. Holt, a New Jersey Democrat, unveiled a competing proposal that would further curtail the new spy powers, arguing that "one of the things we despise about totalitarian governments is that they spy on their own people in the name of national security."

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland defended the main Democratic proposal, saying that it would provide tools that the national intelligence director said are needed to protect the country.

Hoyer added that the top GOP priority, granting legal protection to companies that assist with national security programs, "is not a matter that is off the table."

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