Sunday, January 08, 2006

Looking for the CRS

Back in May, I complained that the Congressional Research Service reports did not have a single website "home" where one could use them as a research source. This past week, the CRS published a report entitled, Presidential Authority to Conduct Warrantless Electronic Surveillance to Gather Foreign Intelligence Information. Regardless of one's views on President Bush's warrantless electronic surveillance, one cannot argue that the public debate benefits by having access to a non-partisan, expert analysis of the legal issues. Yet, the CRS report, while not secret, cannot be found at any designated government website. By way of example, the above link to the report goes to the website of the Federal of American Scientists. (Hat Tip for the link to beSpacific.)

Obviously, given the great public interest in this particular issue, it is not terribly difficult to find a copy of the report. I suspect that it's available for download at dozens of locations. That is, of course, not necessarily the case with respect to all or even most CRS reports, some (many? most?) of which appeal only to policy wonks. Nevertheless, the time has come to put all of the reports on a single website with an adequate search engine to allow researchers to use the reports.

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