Recent Congressional Actions and Publications

06.10.09 | 2 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

Senators Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham said they would do their utmost to block the release under the Freedom of Information Act of photographs documenting the abuse of detainees held in U.S. custody.  “Such a release would be tantamount to a death sentence to some who are serving our nation in the most dangerous and difficult spots like Iraq and Afghanistan,” they said, urging passage of an amendment to exempt any such photographs from the FOIA.

Rep. Jane Harman introduced legislation to terminate the National Applications Office, the DHS organization that would employ intelligence satellite imagery for homeland security and domestic law enforcement purposes.  DHS has failed to provide a legal framework and justification for the program, she said, and therefore “Operation of the NAO in its current state poses serious constitutional questions and threatens to violate the privacy of Americans and their civil liberties.”

Senator Russ Feingold and several colleagues in both parties introduced a resolution that would strengthen the Senate Intelligence Committee by giving it the power to appropriate as well as authorize funds for intelligence.  The move is needed, the resolution said, “to provide vigilant legislative oversight over the intelligence activities of the United States to ensure that such activities are in conformity with the Constitution and laws of the United States.”

The record of a July 2006 hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee entitled “Hamdan v. Rumsfeld: Establishing a Constitutional Process” (pdf) was published in April 2009, with supplementary material for the record.

Another Senate Judiciary Committee hearing volume from a June 2006 hearing on “The Use of Presidential Signing Statements” (pdf) was also published in April 2009.