WASHINGTON IN BRIEF

WASHINGTON IN BRIEF

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Mukasey Pushes Hill To Renew Wiretap Law

Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey urged Congress yesterday to quickly renew a law authorizing the surveillance of terrorism suspects, saying he is "very concerned" about the possibility of attacks on the United States.

"Al-Qaeda and other groups have shown that they want to act whenever they can act so as to have the greatest possible effect," Mukasey said. "By which is meant, cause the most deaths and the most alarm and provoke the greatest level of uncertainty. I have no reason to believe they have desisted from that view."

Current legal authority to intercept terrorist communications will expire on Feb. 1.

In a briefing with reporters, Mukasey also said that he does not plan to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate whether the CIA broke the law when it destroyed videotapes of interrogations of terrorism suspects. Some in Congress have called for an independent look at the politically charged case, but Mukasey this month named a career federal prosecutor from Connecticut, John H. Durham, to handle the inquiry.

Mukasey ducked repeated questions about whether he considers waterboarding a form of torture and illegal. The issue is expected to be on the agenda when he appears next week before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Florida Republican To Retire From House

Rep. Dave Weldon (R-Fla.) announced that he will not seek reelection, making him the second Republican in as many days to do so. Rep. James T. Walsh (R-N.Y.) announced on Thursday that he is leaving. The total number of House Republicans planning to leave office is 25. Six Democrats have announced retirement plans.

-- From News Services


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