Senator Hatch lashes out at critics of domestic surveillance program

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

At a private luncheon in his home state of Utah, Republican U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch delivered some strong words for critics of President Bush's domestic surveillance program and war on terrorism.

Speaking to a few dozen political and business leaders, Hatch defended the President's surveillance actions: "I have to tell you, this president has guts and he deserves your support." He reserved specific criticism for his fellow Congress leaders, saying that while they are "moaning and groaning in Congress because [the President] didn't abide by what's called the FISA Act, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act," the act was no longer applicable to current conflicts.

On the war in Iraq, Hatch was even more disdainful of the critics. He said that the United States stopped a mass murderer in Saddam Hussein and that nobody denies that Saddam Hussein was supporting al-Qaeda, adding "Well, I shouldn't say nobody. Nobody with brains."

Notably, the bi-partisan 9/11 Commision charged with investigating issues related to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks did not find an operational link between al-Qaeda's 9-11 attack and ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Senator Hatch is expected to run for reelection for his 6th term in November 2006. His challengers include State House Majority Whip Steve Urquhart (R) and Pete Ashdown (D).