The committee members have asked that Homeland Security provide the committee with legal documents and the standard operating procedures for the program before they consider the issue further.
Referring to the recent controversy over the potential abuse of the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping program, Rep. Harman said at Thursday's hearing that the Bush administration "has been making security policy in the executive branch without full regard for the laws that Congress has passed."
Allen said the National Applications Office would operate "in accordance with the laws."
Although Homeland Security had notified the appropriations committee of the program, Allen apologized to the members of the Homeland Security Committee for not being more forward with them.
"You briefed the appropriators, not the authorizers," Thompson charged.