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UPDATED: 14:22, September 29, 2006
U.S. House of Representatives approves warrantless wiretap bill
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The United States House of Representatives on Thursday night passed a bill that would grant legal status to President George W. Bush's warrantless wiretapping program with new restrictions.

The House of Representatives passed the bill with a vote of 232-191. The bill, sponsored by Republican Congresswoman Heather Wilson, outlined when and how a U.S. president can order warrantless surveillance.

Under the bill, the president would be authorized to conduct warrantless wiretapping of calls and e-mails between people in the U.S soil and those abroad, if he notifies the House and Senate intelligence committees and leaders.

It also allows the president to order electronic surveillance for up to 90 days following an armed attack.

After the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, Bush secretly ordered to monitor the international calls and e-mails of U.S. citizens without court warrants. It was disclosed in December last year, and a federal judge in Detroit last month, declared it was unconstitutional.

The newly-passed bill, if it becomes a law, is expected to be challenged in court as well.

Source: Xinhua

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