By LARA JAKES JORDAN

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - The Justice Department has begun an internal investigation into its handling of information gathered in the government's domestic spying program.

However, Democrats criticized the review as too narrow to determine whether the program violated federal law.

The inquiry by Glenn A. Fine, the department's inspector general, will focus on the role of Justice prosecutors and agents in carrying out the warrantless surveillance program run by the National Security Agency.

Fine's investigation is not expected to address whether the controversial program is an unconstitutional expansion of presidential power, as its critics and a federal judge in Detroit have charged.

"After conducting initial inquiries into the program, we have decided to open a program review that will examine the department's controls and use of information related to the program," Fine wrote in a letter dated Monday to House Judiciary Committee leaders. The four-paragraph letter was obtained by The Associated Press.

Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said the agency welcomes the review: "We expect that this review will assist Justice Department personnel in ensuring that the department's activities comply with the legal requirements that govern the operation of the program."

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