|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
The Bush administration is unlikely to allow the incoming Democratic majority in Congress to learn details about its domestic spying program and interrogation policy, a Republican senator said on Thursday.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who has criticized the Bush White House's secrecy about national security issues, said he would welcome detailed congressional oversight of the National Security Agency's warrantless eavesdropping.
"It would be ideal," said Specter, whose committee was blocked by the administration this year from conducting a full review of the program, despite an outcry among some lawmakers that the spying was illegal.
"We have to really get into the details as to what the program is, as to how many people they are tapping, what they're finding out," he told an American Bar Association conference on national security.
But he said he had "grave reservations" that Congress would end up getting the information from the administration.
The rules, approved by the Supreme Court in April, require companies and other entities involved in federal litigation to produce "electronically stored information" as part of the discovery process, when evidence is shared by both sides before a trial.
The change makes it more important for companies to know what electronic information they have and where. Under the new rules, an information technology employee who routinely copies over a backup computer tape could be committing the equivalent of "virtual shredding," said Alvin F. Lindsay, a partner at Hogan & Hartson LLP and expert on technology and litigation.
James Wright, director of electronic discovery at Halliburton Co., said that large companies are likely to face higher costs from organizing their data to comply with the rules. In addition to e-mail, companies will need to know about things more difficult to track, like digital photos of work sites on employee cell phones and information on removable memory cards, he said.
Both federal and state courts have increasingly been requiring the production of relevant electronic documents during discovery, but the new rules codify the practice, legal experts said.