Former Vice President &to=http://english.pravda.ru/politics/2000/12/13/1445.html' target=_blank>Al Gore called Monday for an independent investigation of President George W. Bush's domestic spying program, contending the president "repeatedly and persistently" broke the law by eavesdropping on Americans without court approval.
The Democrat who lost the 2000 presidential election to Bush was interrupted repeatedly by applause as he called the anti-terrorism program "a threat to the very structure of our government."
Gore charged that the administration acted without congressional authority and made a "direct assault" on a special federal court that authorizes requests to eavesdrop on Americans. One judge on the court resigned last month, voicing concerns about the National Security Agency's surveillance of e-mails and phone calls.
A spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, Tracey Schmitt, attacked Gore's comments shortly after address.
"Al Gore's incessant need to insert himself in the headline of the day is almost as glaring as his lack of understanding of the threats facing America," Schmitt said. "While the president works to protect Americans from terrorists, Democrats deliver no solutions of their own, only diatribes laden with inaccuracies and anger. "
Gore's speech was sponsored by the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy and The Liberty Coalition, two organizations that have expressed concern about the policy.