Continued from page 1

“I have not received a reply. It’s a problem,” said Mr. Griffith, a lawyer who serves on the House Energy and Commerce oversight and investigations subcommittee. “I can’t properly do my job without seeing the legal opinions.”

An intelligence committee staffer said in a statement that the panel has “worked to get documents responsive to Mr. Griffith’s request declassified so that not only he, but all members of Congress, could see them.”

Some documents — including two secret reports to Congress on the program, but not the legal opinions Mr. Griffith requested — were declassified last week and had been provided to the congressman, the staffer said.

Mr. Griffith said the domestic data-collection program looked exactly like a violation of the constitutional protections against government searches without judicial warrants.

However, legislation could be drafted to “both protect civil liberties and protect America from terrorism,” he said.

“But to prepare for that, I have to be able to see the legal reasoning that underlies this program.”

Mr. Griffith said he did not believe the delay was a result of his public opposition to the program.

“I would hope it was just that they got a lot of requests,” he said.

“There are some who would conjecture that my views were a factor [in the delay]. I hope that they weren’t.”

But he added that the difficulties he was having getting access to legal opinions ought to be of great concern.

“To collect data about the phone calls of millions of innocent Americans, a secret agency applies to a secret court and it’s all overseen by a very secretive [House intelligence] committee. That’s not how America should work,” he said.