The N.S.A., which has run the program of surveillance without warrants since Mr. Bush secretly approved it in October 2001, is known to have used broad pattern analysis in tracking terrorist communications and identifying possible terrorists.
But senior lawmakers said they were still uncertain Wednesday, even after the administrationâ€™s announcement, about how the court would go about approving warrants, how targets would be identified, and whether that process would differ from the courtâ€™s practices since 1978.
The administration said it had briefed the full House and Senate Intelligence Committees in closed sessions on its decision.
But Representative Heather A. Wilson, Republican of New Mexico, who serves on the Intelligence committee, disputed that, and some Congressional aides said staff members were briefed Friday without lawmakers present.
Ms. Wilson, who has scrutinized the program for the last year, said she believed the new approach relied on a blanket, â€œprogrammaticâ€ approval of the presidentâ€™s surveillance program, rather than approval of individual warrants.
Administration officials â€œhave convinced a single judge in a secret session, in a nonadversarial session, to issue a court order to cover the presidentâ€™s terrorism surveillance program,â€ Ms. Wilson said in a telephone interview. She said Congress needed to investigate further to determine how the program is run.
Via Josh at TPM.