May 11, 2006

Bush says authorized intelligence activities lawful

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush on Thursday
said intelligence activities he has authorized are lawful and
the government does not listen to domestic phone calls without
court approval.

"The privacy of ordinary Americans is fiercely protected in
all our activities. We're not mining or trolling through the
personal lives of millions of innocent Americans," Bush said.

The president came out to defend the administration's
domestic spy program after USA Today reported the National
Security Agency was secretly collecting phone records of tens
of millions of Americans from phone companies to analyze
calling patterns in an effort to detect terrorist activity.

"The intelligence activities I authorized are lawful and
have been briefed to appropriate members of Congress, both
Republican and Democrat," Bush said.

Revelation late last year that the NSA was eavesdropping
inside the United States on international phone calls and
e-mail of terrorism suspects prompted an political uproar. Bush
did not say the report was inaccurate.

Bush said, "Our efforts are focused on links to al Qaeda
and their known affiliates."