Justice Department Told to Release Documents on Surveillance Program - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Justice Department Told to Release Documents on Surveillance Program

WASHINGTON -- A federal judge ordered the Bush administration on Thursday to release documents about its warrantless surveillance program or spell out what it is withholding, a setback to efforts to keep the program under wraps.

At the same time, the Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said he had worked out an agreement with the White House to consider legislation and provide more information to Congress on the eavesdropping program. The panel's top Democrat, who has requested a full-scale investigation, immediately objected to what he called an abdication of the committee's responsibilities.

U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy ruled that a private group, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, will suffer irreparable harm if the documents it has been seeking are not processed promptly.

"President Bush has invited meaningful debate about the warrantless surveillance program," U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy wrote. "That can only occur if DOJ processes (EPIC's) FOIA requests in a timely fashion and releases the information sought."

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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