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Rice: Spying on Americans is ok
Rice Denies U.S. Broke Law Amid Report Bush Authorized Spying Bloomberg
December 16, 2005

Dec. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice today defended President George W. Bush against reports he authorized spying on American citizens and foreign nationals in the U.S. following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The New York Times reported that Bush in 2002 secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop without the court-approved warrants that are required for domestic spying. The international phone calls and e-mail messages of hundreds, possibly thousands, of people have been monitored without warrants to find numbers linked to al-Qaeda, the paper said.

Rice, interviewed on NBC's "Today" show, said "the president has been very clear that he would not order people to do things that are illegal." She declined to comment directly on the New York Times report.

The presidential order Bush signed represents a change in responsibilities for the NSA, which traditionally monitors actions in foreign countries, the Times said.

The paper said it interviewed nearly a dozen current and former administration officials about the program and granted them anonymity because the information was classified. The officials said the administration is confident that existing safeguards protect the privacy and civil liberties of Americans, the Times said.

The Bush administration briefed Congressional leaders about the program and notified the judge in charge of the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Court, the secret court in Washington that handles national security issues, the paper said.

`A Heavy Responsibility'

Rice today said Bush has a responsibility to adhere to the rules of the Constitution when making intelligence decisions and has protected Americans' civil liberties.

"The kind of attack that we experienced on Sept. 11, that means that the president has a heavy responsibility" to "protect and defend Americans," Rice said. "But he did it always -- anything that he did -- legally and within his constitutional responsibility."

The Times said it held off publishing its report for a year because the administration said that could jeopardize continuing investigations and alert would-be terrorists that they might be under scrutiny. Some information that administration officials could be useful to terrorists was omitted, the paper said.

To contact the reporter on this story:
William McQuillen in Washington at  bmcquille@bloomberg.net

Last Updated: December 16, 2005 10:04 EST

Commentary:
Who cares what Rice thinks or says. The woman has a long history of being wrong on every important issue facing our nation - from 911, to WMD, to torture. Now she's defending an Administration that violated the law when it trampled our civil rights. Has she no shame?

Court warrants are necessary under the law. Bush violated the law so this is another impeachable offense.