Thursday, June 17, 2004

DeWine blasts Bush for 'slow' terror tracking

By Carl Weiser
Enquirer Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON - In an unusually harsh rebuke for a Republican, Ohio's senior senator warned Wednesday that the Bush administration is too slow in seeking surveillance of potential foreign terrorists in the United States.

In a Senate speech, Sen. Mike DeWine warned that bureaucratic barriers in the Justice Department are holding up applications to a special secret court that OKs wiretaps and monitoring of potential terrorists. He said police could be missing key information to stop an attack.

"That scares me," he said. "And it should scare us all."

DeWine serves on the Senate Judiciary and intelligence committees. That makes him one of the most familiar with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which he considers one of the most important weapons in fighting terrorism.

"This is a question of the safety of the American people. So it shouldn't surprise anyone that I would be alarmed," he said later.

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