U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was hammered by lawmakers on Thursday who demanded to know why the administration took more than five years to obtain court approval of its war-time domestic spying initiative.
“I somewhat take issue … with (Republican) Senator Arlen Specter’s innuendo that this is something we could have pulled off the shelf and done in a matter of days or weeks,” Gonzales told the Senate Judiciary Committee. “This is a very complicated application. We worked on it a long time.”
Gonzales announced an abrupt end to the warrantless electronic surveillance program on Wednesday, just two weeks after Democrats took control of the U.S. Congress, promising investigations as well as legislation to bring the program in line with the law.
Critics have charged that Bush overstepped his authority after the September 11 attacks with the domestic spying program along with other measures such as holding terrorism suspects indefinitely without charges, and interrogations that critics said amounted to torture.