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News :: Privacy & Electronic Information
BUSH TO SUPPORT NSA SPYING IN K-STATE SPEECH Current rating: 0
23 Jan 2006
Faux "news" is reporting that Bush will use today's K-State speech to try to win support for his illegal spying on Americans without even the pretext of a phony "court order" from the supine FISA court.
Bush to Defend NSA Wiretap Program
Monday, January 23, 2006


PHOTOS
STORIES
WASHINGTON — After initially refusing to confirm the existence of his program for warrantless domestic wiretaps, President Bush on Monday will go on the offensive in defense of the program.

In making his case for allowing the National Security Agency to listen in on phone or e-mail conversations with known Al Qaeda terrorists, Bush will argue both the necessity and constitutionality of the controversial surveillance program, particularly in a time of war.

The president will speak at 12:30 p.m. EST at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kans., in front of a coliseum full of several thousands, including students, soldiers from nearby Fort Riley and invited guests. He will be the third sitting president to deliver the school's Landon Lecture; the first president to do so was Richard Nixon, who also sought to expand domestic wiretapping powers in wartime.

Bush will open Monday's event by talking about the War on Terror, then will begin his defense of the NSA program. Bush will also take questions from the audience.

At the center of the wiretap debate is Bush's 2002 executive order in which he authorized the NSA — which traditionally is responsible for monitoring overseas communications — to monitor what the White House says is a limited number of calls involving individuals suspected of being linked to Al Qaeda. These calls are only monitored if at least one of the parties involved in the communication is located overseas, according to the White House.

(Story continues below)

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Bush's public relations campaign comes two weeks before congressional hearings to examine the top-secret program, disclosed last month by The New York Times, are set to begin. Critics have said the president broke the law by authorizing the eavesdropping without a judge's approval and by failing to fully consult with Congress. The White House argues that a congressional resolution passed after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks gave him the authority to do whatever he felt necessary to protect the country in a time of war.

The Justice Department has launched a probe into who leaked details of the program to the Times.

Presidential adviser Dan Bartlett made a pitch for the surveillance program Monday morning on network television news shows.

"The very reason to do this is that the dots weren't connected before 9/11, to make sure we know if plans or operations are under way to attack our country again," he said on CBS's "The Early Show."

Bartlett insisted that Bush was "not bypassing the law. In fact, we're interpreting the law correctly."

"It would be our choice to not to have to talk about this at all," he said on ABC's "Good Morning America."

Polls show the country is largely split on the program along party lines and Congress has largely followed that trend. Many lawmakers argue that Bush needs to better keep them in the loop on such programs.

"The president's program on surveillance is an essential program to help keep America safe," said Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich. "We've got some disagreements on exactly where we move from here, how many people are briefed on the program."

Democratic Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, however, takes a different view.

"I believe you need to protect the United States of America. I also believe you need to protect the Constitution. I don't think they're at odds with each other. You can do this and not violate the law. The president has violated the law, period," Kerry said.

Also on Monday, the head of the NSA will speak at the National Press Club in Washington in defense of his agency's work. On Wednesday, Bush will visit the NSA at its Fort Meade, Md., headquarters.

The Q&A; portion of Monday's event is a new format for Bush that seems to be working for him.

The president has been taking questions from audience members in recent speeches, and the White House says none has been prescreened. It's a throwback to the folksy style on the campaign trail that helped him win re-election and a departure from the heavily scripted speeches that were the norm last year.

And his answers have resulted in some revelations — both personal and political.

Bush has taken a wide variety of questions in three appearances during the last six weeks. Many of the people he has called on have fawned over him, thanking him for his wartime leadership, saying they pray for him and bringing best wishes from other fans in their family who couldn't be there.

"It's always good to have a plant in every audience," Bush joked last week in Sterling, Va., after a woman rose and said she was proud of him.

But he has gotten some tough questions, too, such as the one from a woman in Philadelphia last month who challenged the administration's linkage of the Iraq war to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Bush said Saddam Hussein was a threat and at the time was widely believed to have weapons of mass destruction - which later proved false.

In response to another question in Philadelphia, he estimated 30,000 Iraqis had died in the war, the first time he publicly put a number on Iraqi deaths. In Louisville, Ky., he signaled that after initial reservations, he was resigned to congressional hearings into his domestic spying program as long as they don't aid the enemy.

He has spoken about one of the worst things about being president - exposing his daughters to public scrutiny — and one of the best — impressing his childhood friends with dinner at the White House.

"It's a great honor, pretty awe-inspiring deal," Bush said in Virginia. "They walk in there and, kind of (say), 'What are you doing here, Bush?'"

He also ruled out any future run for office by his wife, Laura, in response to a plea from a fan who called her "one of the best first ladies we've ever had." And he disclosed that Mrs. Bush designed the rug in the Oval Office.

"I said, I want it to say 'optimistic person comes here to work every day,'" the president said. "It was the strategic thought for the rug. She figured out the colors. And it looks like a sun, with nice, open colors."

While the president was heading for Kansas, anti-abortion activists were gathering in Washington and elsewhere to protest the 33rd anniversary of the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. As he has in past years, Bush planned to call in his support rather than attend in person.

FOX News' James Rosen and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,182467,00.html
See also:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,182467,00.html

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