Bush also repeated his intention to launch a probe into who leaked the secret surveillance program to the New York Times, a leak he called “the shameful act.”
Under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, surveillance of U.S. citizens is illegal unless ordered by a court of law. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, however, has rendered an opinion that when Congress authorized the use of military force after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, it also gave the president the power to authorize such eavesdropping.
Bush said he had okayed use of secret surveillance more than 30 times since 9/11 and would continue to do so “as long as the nation faces the continuing threat of an enemy that wants to kill our American citizens.”
The President also reiterated his stance that he had not made a mistake by sending U.S. troops into Iraq. “It was the right decision to make. I think that there's going to be a lot of analysis done on the decisions made on the ground in Iraq,” he said. “History will judge.”
Times Says it Sat On Wiretapping Story for a Year
U.S. Politics Guide Kathy Gill reports here that the New York Times stated that it had voluntarily suppressed the story about warrantless, domestic electronic surveillance, "for a year" at the request of the White House.