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Senate Committee Blocks Investigation of Domestic Surveillance


A Republican-led U.S. Senate committee has rejected a proposed investigation of the Bush administration's domestic surveillance program.

The Senate Intelligence Committee voted along party lines Tuesday to reject the proposal by Senator Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat.

Chairman Pat Roberts said the committee agreed to create a subcommittee for "enhanced oversight" of the program, in which the government monitors phone conversations and e-mails between people in the United States and suspected terrorists abroad without court approval.

Also Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill extending the anti-terrorism law known as the U.S.A. Patriot Act, which was first enacted after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.

The Patriot Act expands the government's power to obtain private records, conduct wiretaps and share information between agencies. Critics say it threatens civil liberties.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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