In a letter to House Judiciary Committee leaders and obtained by The Associated Press, Inspector General Glenn A. Fine said his investigators would focus on the Justice Department's role in carrying out the spying program run by the National Security Agency.
Fine wrote that he wants to ensure that prosecutors are following laws governing the handling of information NSA gathers when spying on suspected terrorists in the United States.
"After conducting initial inquiries into the program, we have decided to open a program review that will examine the department's controls and use of information related to the program," Fine wrote in the four-paragraph letter.
President Bush earlier stonewalled
a similar inquiry, you might recall. In July, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told Congress that the president had personally prohibited investigators from DoJ's Office of Professional Responsibility from obtaining the security clearances they needed to determine whether senior Justice officials had broken the law when they approved and monitored the secret NSA domestic surveillance program.
Curiously, when Fine asked for clearances from the White House he got them, according to his letter. It's not immediately clear how -- or if -- Fine's probe differs from OPR's thwarted effort.Update
: You can read Fine's letter here