US President George W. Bush has again defended his decision to allow eavesdropping on Americans in the wake of the 2001 terror attacks. Speaking at a press conference, Mr Bush also repeated that he would continue to authorise the secret monitoring.
And in an earlier BBC report — http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4534488.stm:
Questioned about the report, Condoleezza Rice said Mr Bush had never ordered anyone to do anything illegal. But some NSA officials familiar with the operation have questioned whether the surveillance of calls and e-mails has crossed constitutional limits on legal searches, according to the Times. American law usually requires a secret court, known as a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, to give permission before intelligence officers can conduct surveillance on US soil.
When asked about the programme on US TV, the secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, said: "The president acted lawfully in every step that he has taken. He takes absolutely seriously his constitutional responsibility both to defend Americans and to do it within the law," she said.
She declined to discuss details of the New York Times report.
...The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said eavesdropping in the US without a court order and without complying with the procedures of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was "both illegal and unconstitutional. The administration is claiming extraordinary presidential powers at the expense of civil liberties and is putting the president above the law," director Caroline Fredrickson said.