During the last week, President Bush and other members of the administration have lashed out at the New York Times for printing a story about a government program that monitors bank records. Bush has insisted that Congress was briefed appropriately on the program:
Q Sir, several news organizations have reported about a program that allows the administration to look into the bank records of certain suspected terrorists…if neither the courts, nor the legislature is allowed to know about these programs, how can you feel confident the checks and balances system works?
THE PRESIDENT: Congress was briefed…And the disclosure of this program is disgraceful. We’re at war with a bunch of people who want to hurt the United States of America, and for people to leak that program, and for a newspaper to publish it does great harm to the United States of America. What we were doing was the right thing. Congress was aware of it…
Today on ABC, Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that she wasn’t briefed until after it was clear the New York Times was publishing the story. Watch it:
The administration is required under law to brief the entire intelligence committee on all intelligence programs.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The White House said they briefed the Congress on this matter and there is no law called into question. Do you believe that a law is called into question and that this program might have been illegal?
FEINSTEIN: Well, I’m on the Intelligence Committee. I can tell you when I was briefed and when the committee was briefed — and that was when it became apparent that the New York Times had the story and was going to run it. And that’s when and why they came to us and briefed us.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you knew nothing about it before the New York Times was asking questions?
FEINSTEIN: That’s correct.