President Bush made no apologies for authorizing “a secret eavesdropping programme in the US more than 30 times since the September 11 attacks and he lashed out at those involved in publicly revealing it.”
“This authorisation is a vital tool in our war against the terrorists. It is critical to saving American lives. The American people expect me to do everything in my power, under our laws and Constitution, to protect them and their civil liberties and that is exactly what I will continue to do as long as I am President of the US,” Bush said.
Revelations of the program in The New York Times were a lightning rod for criticism when the Senate failed to pass a motion of cloture to terminate a filibuster against the PATRIOT Act extension.