Sen. James Brochin, who requested a formal hearing in a letter to Frosh, said lawmakers would seek answers to many unresolved questions, including what prompted the police investigations, what threat the protest groups posed, who gave final clearance for the operation and whether former Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. was briefed on it.
"The whole thing is disturbing; it's unsettling," said Brochin, a Baltimore County Democrat, who added that he is "somewhat comforted" by assurances made by Sheridan and O'Malley and isn't considering legislation.
Brochin said he would like to hear testimony from Thomas E. "Tim" Hutchins, the former state police superintendent in Ehrlich's administration when the surveillance occurred, as well as from "anyone else involved in this operation" and Sheridan.
Henry Fawell, a spokesman for Ehrlich, said that the former governor was not made aware of the operation. Hutchins said he could not recall any conversation with Ehrlich about it, and he declined to discuss the specifics of the operation because he had not seen what was turned over to the ACLU. Hutchins said he would agree to testify in Annapolis.
"Whatever occurred during my tenure I obviously am responsible for. I took that position when I was there, and I will continue to take that position," Hutchins said. "But I haven't the foggiest idea what documents they have or the details of it."
Sen. Alex X. Mooney, a Republican on the Judicial Proceedings Committee, said that he wouldn't object to holding a hearing on the matter but that he would like to hear from both sides before making any judgments.
"I'm not going to rest on any conclusions they are abusing their authority," said Mooney, who represents Frederick and Washington counties. "But I don't have any problem looking into how they are using their authority."
For previous coverage of the spying case, plus documents and video from the ACLU, go to baltimoresun.com/spying