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A Senate chairman heading an investigation into the Bush administration’s warrantless domestic spying program subpoenaed documents on Wednesday from the White House, Vice President Dick Cheney’s office, the National Security Council and Justice Department.

A Senate chairman heading an investigation into the Bush administration’s warrantless domestic spying program subpoenaed documents on Wednesday from the White House, Vice President Dick Cheney’s office, the National Security Council and Justice Department.

Setting up a possible courtroom showdown, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy gave the administration until July 18 to turn over specified materials that the White House last week declared off limits and highly classified.

In letters accompanying the subpoenas, Leahy wrote: “Over the past 18 months, this committee has made no fewer than nine formal requests to the Department of Justice and to the White House, seeking information and documents about the authorization of and legal justification for this program.”

“There is no legitimate argument for withholding the requested materials,” added Leahy, a Vermont Democrat. “The administration cannot thwart the Congress’s conduct of its constitutional duties with sweeping assertions of secrecy and privilege.”

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