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Looks Like Bush Knew Wiretaps Were Wrong

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WASHINGTON, D.C.–While President Bush denies any wrongdoing in the
National Security Agency domestic wiretap and data-mining program, saying yesterday that it was perfectly legal, actions by top officials in his own administration suggest Bush and his inner circle of
confidants did indeed know the spying was wrong.

Bush said yesterday in defense of the
eavesdropping, “This program has been reviewed,
constantly reviewed, by people throughout my
administration. And it still is reviewed. Not only
has it been reviewed by Justice Department officials,
it’s been reviewed by members of the United States
Congress,” he said. “It’s a vital, necessary program.”

But the New York Times revealed Sunday that when
Bush couldn’t get top level clearance for the wiretaps from deputy
attorney general James Comey, two aides–Andrew
Card, White House chief of staff, and Alberto
Gonzalez, then White House counsel and now attorney
general–went to George Washington University Hospital
here, in a circuitous effort to get Attorney General
John Ashcroft, who was recovering from gallbladder surgery, to
sign off on it

Moreover, Bush, in
Buffalo in 2004,
was asked about a remark he made at
an appearance in support of the Patriot Act, the
president said, “Any time you hear the United States
government talking about wiretap,” Bush said. “A wiretap requires a court order.” He added: “Nothing has changed, by
the way. When we’re talking about chasing down
terrorists, we’re talking about getting a court order
before we do so.”

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