Rare Saturday Email in Advance of Resolutions of Inquiry Mark-Up Said a Sign of GOP/White House Concern About Warrantless Eavesdropping Program...
By Brad Friedman on 2/11/2006, 2:18pm PT  

Is the Bush Administration getting nervous about growing GOP defections concerning their warrantless NSA domestic eavesdropping program?

A rare Saturday email to Congressional members announcing a last-minute scheduled briefing on Monday by the Dept. of Justice would seem to indicate that may be the case.

The email, sent earlier today and obtained by The BRAD BLOG, notified Congressional Republicans and Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee of the newly announced briefing for Monday --- in advance of next Wednesday's mark-up of two Resolutions of Inquiry being put forward in the committee.

The email announcement follows in full...

From: Cylke, Chris
Sent: Saturday, February 11, 2006 11:14 AM
To: Cylke, Chris; Judiciary, Rep Leg Staff; Judiciary, Dem Staff & LAs
Cc: Judiciary, Majority Staff
Subject: Unclassified briefing by DOJ on NSA surveillance program
Importance: High

Will be held at 3 pm on Monday, Feb 13th. Presentation will be followed by an opportunity for Q & A. This briefing is for Judiciary Committee Members and staff only. If you have questions, please contact Beth Sokul at 5-3951.
Christopher Cylke
House Judiciary Committee

A House staffer confirmed to The BRAD BLOG that such Saturday notices are very unusual and speculated that the White House may be becoming increasing concerned about GOP defections concerning the legality of their warrantless domestic eavesdropping program.

The staffer speculated the move may be meant as an attempt to give the House Judiciary Committee a way to say, "Well, we've had this briefing now, so there's no need for full hearings on it."

Next Wednesday, the Committee is scheduled for mark-up of the two following resolutions:

  • H. Res. 643, "Directing the Attorney General to submit to the House of Representatives all documents in the possession of the Attorney General relating to warrantless electronic surveillance of telephone conversations and electronic communications of persons in the United States conducted by the National Security Agency"
  • H. Res. 644, "Requesting the President and directing the Attorney General to transmit to the House of Representatives not later than 14 days after the date of the adoption of this resolution documents in the possession of those officials relating to the authorization of electronic surveillance of citizens of the United States without court approved warrants"
  • The mark-up conference will be carried live on the web next Wednesday, February 15, 2006 beginning at 10:00am ET.

    Full audio and video will be available via the Judiciary Committee website at www.Judiciary.House.gov