The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
January 4, 2006

Setting the Record Straight: Critics Launch Attacks Against Program to Detect and Prevent Terrorist Attacks

     Fact sheet In Focus: Homeland Security
     Fact sheet In Focus: National Security
     Fact sheet Setting the Record Straight

"Critics have stepped up their attacks on the President for authorizing the National Security Agency to listen to international communications of known al Qaeda members or affiliated terrorists during a time of war. The American people expect their leaders to stay a step ahead of the enemy, and the National Security Agency authorization is a critical tool in the War on Terror that saves lives and protects civil liberties at the same time."

- Scott McClellan, White House Press Secretary

Setting The Record Straight On Separate NSA Activities To Safeguard Americans.

Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Expresses Concern That The NSA Was Conducting Surveillance Without Presidential Authority In The Aftermath Of 9/11. "During your appearance before the committee on October 1, you indicated that you had been operating since the September 11 attacks with an expansive view of your authorities with respect to the conduct of electronic surveillance under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and related statutes, orders, regulations, and guidelines. ... Therefore, I am concerned whether, and to what extent, the National Security Agency has received specific presidential authorization for the operations you are conducting. Until I understand better the legal analysis regarding the sufficiency of the authority which underlies your decision on the appropriate way to proceed on this matter, I will continue to be concerned." (Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Letter To Lieutenant General Michael V. Hayden, 10/11/01)

Setting The Record Straight On The Terrorist Ties Of Intercepted Communications.

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) Says The National Security Agency (NSA) Is Eavesdropping On American Citizens With No "Indication Of Wrongdoing." SEN. DURBIN: "And in passing the Patriot Act, we gave the government new authority, but we didn't give the National Security Agency the authority to spy on American citizens without any indication of wrongdoing." (CBS' "Early Show," 12/17/05)

Setting The Record Straight On The Scope Of The Program.

Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) Says The NSA Is Conducting Domestic Surveillance Of Calls. "He has rationalized the use of domestic, civilian surveillance with a flimsy claim that he has such authority because we are at war." (Sen. Byrd, "No President Is Above The Law," Press Release, 12/19/05)

Setting The Record Straight On The Use Of The FISA Court.

Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) Says The Administration Should Be Using The FISA Court. "There is nothing the president needed to do to protect Americans that could not have been done through FISA. Since 1979, the FISA court has received some 19,000 requests and approved all but five of them. The administration's assertion that it needed to bypass the court is out of bounds." (Sen. Joseph Biden, Op-Ed, "No President Is Above Our Constitution," The Miami Herald, 1/1/06)

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