Wednesday, January 25, 2006
AP: Bush invokes Bin Laden to justify illegal wiretaps
By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer - 51 minutes ago
FORT MEADE, Md. - , right, defending the government's secret surveillance program, said Wednesday that Americans should take seriously when he says he's going to attack again.
"When he says he's going to hurt the American people again, or try to, he means it," Bush told reporters after visiting the top-secret National Security Agency where the surveillance program is based. "I take it seriously, and the people of NSA take it seriously."
It was Bush's first comment about bin Laden since the al-Qaida leader warned in a tape aired last week that his fighters are preparing new attacks in the United States. Bin Laden offered a truce, without specifying the conditions, and the White House responded that the United States would never negotiate with the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Bush's NSA visit was part of an aggressive administration effort to defend the surveillance program. Experts and lawmakers from both parties have questioned whether it's legal for the government to listen to conversations in the United States without a warrant, which the administration could get through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
Four leading Democratic senators wrote Bush Wednesday saying they support efforts to do everything possible within the law to combat terrorism, but that the NSA program is an "apparent violation of federal law."
"If you or officials in your administration believe that FISA, or any law, does not give you enough authority to combat terrorism, you should propose changes in the law to Congress," wrote Sens. Harry Reid, Edward Kennedy, Richard Durbin and Russ Feingold. "You may not simply disregard the law."
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