New White House Press Secretary Tony Snow is already covering up President Bush’s mistakes.
President Bush was asked earlier today about an NSA database reported by USA Today that tracks the phone records of “tens of millions” of Americans. Bush implicitly confirmed the existance of the program, claiming that Congress had been fully briefed on it:
QUESTION: Mr. President, you’ve said that the government is not trolling through the lives of innocent Americans, but why shouldn’t ordinary people feel that their privacy is invaded by the NSA compiling a list of their telephone calls?
BUSH: …The program he’s asking about is one that has been fully briefed to members of the United States Congress in both political parties. They’re very aware of what is taking place. The American people expect their government to protect them within the laws of this country, and I’m going to continue to do just that.
Holding his first White House press conference, the first question posed to Tony Snow was about Bush’s comments. Snow misled the press corps, claiming President Bush wasn’t talking about the collection of phone records by the NSA:
QUESTION: In his news conference with John Howard, was the president giving kind of a backhanded confirmation of the stories that the NSA is compiling telephone lists?
SNOW: No, he wasn’t. If you go back and listen to the answer he gave you, he was talking about foreign-to-domestic calls. The allegations in the USA Today piece, which we will neither confirm or deny, are of a different nature. So, no, he was not giving a backhanded confirmation.
Same deception, new face.