: DOJ Accused of Abusing Wiretap Powers "> Not all members of the committee were harshly critical of the government. Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, said he is not convinced that the governments interpretation of the expanded wiretap powers is wrong. Nonetheless, DeWine said, the committee needs more information about the application of the law if it is to live up to its oversight responsibilities. Democrats and Republicans alike deplored the extensive secrecy surrounding the interpretation and implementation of the surveillance laws. "Theres less sunlight on the FISA court than youd find in most photographers darkrooms," said Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.Additionally, Leahy warned, if the government does not provide lawmakers with more information, many members of Congress may be reluctant to renew the expanded powers when they sunset in 2005. Expanded wiretap powers affect not only the balance between individual rights and government authority but also the potential burden imposed on network operators. When the volume of surveillance requests increases, so does the volume of work required of service providers, telecommunications carriers and private network operators Related Stories:
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Members from both parties complained that the Justice Department has not responded to all of the committees inquiries. Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said he will consider issuing subpoenas if the department refuses to respond voluntarily.