Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Monday argued that President Bush's terrorism surveillance program is well within the boundaries of presidential authority in the time of war and said it "may make the difference between success and failure" in stopping the next terrorist attack.
"As the president has said, if you're talking to Al Qaeda, we want to know it," Gonzales testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Democrats, meanwhile, are accusing the administration of depriving Congress of information about the program and say the program is illegal. Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) has called Gonzales' legal explanations "strained and unrealistic." Read more.
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Check out what FOX Fans are saying:
"If a terrorist made a phone call to the U.S. and it was not intercepted and that resulted in a successful attack, the Democrats would be the first to blame this administration for not doing enough." — James (Luray, VA)
"President Bush is doing everything within his power to protect Americans. This is just politics as per usual." — Fred (Dallas, TX)
"The president seems to be doing a good job of keeping this country safe. Congress needs to GET OFF HIS BACK and do the work we pay them to do." — John (Maryland)
"Republican and Democratic lawmakers are concerned about the same thing, i.e. that the president failed to follow the law. Specter is a Republican and he too is not satisfied with Gonzales' defense. Well, saying that you can't answer something at this time is not much of a defense. It comes down to the fact that the Bush's last line of defense is saying that FISA was too slow and cumbersome for what they needed to do. Right there is admittance that they didn't follow the law. But most importantly, FISA does indeed allow for emergency situations. The truth hidden between the lines of Gonzales' dodging is that the program is far more wide spread than they want us to know." — Patrick (Newton, NC)
"Seems to me that our lawmakers should be focusing on our serious problems in America instead of wasting tax payers money on all these hearings." — Frank
"I am behind President Bush and Mr. Gonzales' in their effort to catch terrorist." — Bill
"Mr. Gonzales is just going to skirt the fact that Bush and his pals broke the law. They lied. Bush's excuse that they courts would take too long is false. They know that there is a special emergency procedure. The courts and the systems are there to protect both Americans and the law. Gonzales knows better, as does the president. It will all come out in the wash. Shame on the president and those who serve him." — Jimmy (Boone, NC)
“It is too easy for the president to cite that he is doing what’s best for us. Using national security as a blanket to do what you want is illegal. There are checks and balances in place and the president has done everything he can do circumvent the law and the Constitution.” — Kate (Los Angeles, CA)
“Bravo Gonzales. I am sick and tired of these so-called lawmakers wasting taxpayers’ money to grandstand, all while they are undermining our national security.” — Lisa (Rome, GA)
"Existing wire-tap laws are largely centered around being able to tap a particular phone or device, as if the device itself is under suspicion. The law does not allow for the tapping of a person as that person changes devices. It appears technology has now caught up with the intent of the wire tap law (to be able to tap a person), but the law is still in an age of tapping devices. In an age of terrorism, the law can protect us if the phones attack and the NSA can protect us if people attack." — Robert
"Grilling Gonzales is just another lame attempt to bash Bush. It's all starting to get pretty dang boring too. Listen up Congress – our country has a great many serious problems that need your attention. Attention, I might add, that American taxpayers are paying dearly for. So quit all the bickering, and caterwauling and solve some major problems before the entire country is on food stamps, or we all get blown to kingdom come!" — Sam (Memphis,TN)
"It is a farce that Bush and his administration say that we are at war. I do not recall a formal declaration of war against terrorism. Bush is just faking the books to further his agenda. He must be stopped before any further damage is done to our Constitution, to democracy and to our American way of life." — Paul (Providence, RI)"Since the Administration can notify the FISA court of any planned surveillance up to 72 hours AFTER the fact, it allows the NSA to act quickly to protect national security when necessary. The fact that they won't simply adds to the growing public perception that this program must be larger the 'handful' of cases the president has said it covers; or worse yet, that it includes listening in on reporters, political opponents or others. The 1978 law was instituted in response to another President's belief that he had sweeping powers to wiretap for his own personal purposes - a good reason to have some oversight over government wiretapping. This is a country of checks and balances and that's what protects all our freedoms." — Ellen (Brewster, MA)