domestic spying program: “Well, the fact of the matter is that the Constitution is the Constitution, and I took an oath to abide by — and the president did — if you have any government official who deliberately orders that federal law be violated despite the best of motives, that certainly ought to be of concern to us.”
For 24 hours, Bush and other top administration officials refused to confirm the existence of their secret domestic spying program, arguing that doing so would endanger the American people:
President Bush, 12/16/05
I know that people are anxious to know the details of operations, they– people want me to comment about the veracity of the story. It’s the policy of this government, just not going do it, and the reason why is that because it would compromise our ability to protect the people.
Press Secretary Scott McClellan, 12/16/05:
This relates to intelligence activities and ongoing intelligence operations that are aimed at saving lives. And there’s a reason why we don’t get into discussing ongoing intelligence activities, because it could compromise our efforts to prevent attacks from happening.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, 12/16/05:
Well, I’m, again, not going to comment on intelligence activities because intelligence activities, by their very nature, are activities that are sensitive and that should not be compromised.
This morning, President Bush not only confirmed the existence of the program but provided details about how it worked.
This demonstrates that the administration’s initial refusal to comment was not motivated by security concerns. If that was the case Bush still wouldn’t have been able to comment this morning. Rather, the refusal to comment was a public relations strategy. When they decided it wasn’t working, they scrapped it and tried something else.
“paid nearly a half-million dollars in consulting fees to members of his political inner circle, according to tax returns providing the first financial accounting of the presidential hopeful’s nonprofit,” the AP reports. Maybe his inner circle was doing research on AIDS transmission via teardrops?
From his radio address this morning:
This is a highly classified program that is crucial to our national security. Its purpose is to detect and prevent terrorist attacks against the United States, our friends, and allies. Yesterday, the existence of this secret program was revealed in media reports after being improperly provided to news organizations. …I have reauthorized this program more than 30 times since the September the 11th attacks
Bush claimed it was consistent with U.S. law and the Constitution. Many experts disagree.
Full transcript: Read more
For months, the White House has refused to comment on anything related to Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation, saying it’s their policy not to comment on criminal proceedings while they’re ongoing. Then, on Wednesday, Bush commented on Tom DeLay’s ongoing criminal prosecution, telling Brit Hume that DeLay was innocent.