Senate Intel Committee Votes Down NSA Spying Investigation

With this legislation, the program would not be retroactively authorized, according to its author, DeWine. It would be authorized as of the day the legislation is passed. But there would be no investigation of the program or its past use.

It was that point that particularly angered Rockefeller, who spoke passionately against this deal at the stakeout outside the closed meeting.

Rockefeller said the worst mistake Congress could make was altering FISA without understanding the White House program.

"You can't go to the White House for an hour-long meeting and understand this program after a 45-minute flip-chart presentation where everybody is talking fast and you ask a few questions for 15 minutes at the end."

Though Frist supports the principles outlined in the draft legislation, he said he would not have had a problem with an investigation, either. He released a statement applauding both the legislation and the investigation -- apparently not realizing that an investigation had been voted down by the committee -- but he quickly retracted that statement.

Roberts also announced the Intelligence Committee voted to create a subcommittee on terrorist surveillance. That subcommittee could be briefed as early as Wednesday on all aspects of the wiretapping program, presuming the White House has agreed to brief the committee before any legislation is passed.

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