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Congress is studying cameras at memorials

Congressional hearings began Friday into a National Park Service plan to install 24-hour surveillance cameras this fall at the Washington Monument and other major memorials.

The National Park Service and capital police officials said the cameras would be valuable in fighting crime and preventing terrorist attacks on some of the capital's most cherished shrines. President Bush has budgeted $23-million to increase security at these sites.

But civil libertarians contended the surveillance scheme would be an unconstitutional invasion of privacy that could lead to widespread abuses of civil rights, including the videotaping of people protesting on the Mall.

Under the plan, TV cameras are to be placed in and around public areas at the Washington Monument and the Lincoln, Jefferson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Vietnam War and Korean War memorials.

Lawmakers reach deal on voting reforms

Senators agreed Friday to pass legislation next month to upgrade the nation's voting systems in the wake of the disputed 2000 presidential election results in Florida.

The agreement calls for lawmakers to debate the bill for two hours and vote on it when they return from a two-week Easter recess.

Still to be resolved are differences between the Senate bill, which calls for a much bigger federal role in administering elections, and a House version that would help states buy voting machines but also maintain state and local control over them.

Also Friday . . .

OSPREY TESTS TO RESTART: Flight tests on the grounded V-22 Osprey are on schedule to resume around April 29 and will last at least two years, Edward "Pete" Aldridge, the defense undersecretary for acquisitions, said.

CHANGES AT FBI: Since capturing a spy in its ranks, the FBI has reduced the number of agents with access to sensitive intelligence and conducted hundreds of polygraphs that have identified possible problems with about 10 employees, officials said. No new espionage suspects have been identified, officials said.