So we are told by George Bush. He states speed as the reason:
U.S. President George W. Bush said he has the constitutional authority to approve eavesdropping on American citizens and foreign nationals in the U.S. to protect Americans from the threat of terrorism.
``To save American lives we must be able to act fast,'' the president said in a news conference at the White House. The surveillance ``has been effective in disrupting the enemy.''
Telephone calls and e-mails have been monitored in about 500 instances since October 2001, according to an administration official, who spoke on the condition on anonymity.
But this excuse doesn't wash, because the law allows the secret court to be contacted up to three days after the spying has commenced. So there was never any delay to begin with.
No, the reason why Bush insists on this policy must lie elsewhere. Several hypotheses float around the blogosphere, from just arrogance to the idea that Bush has been spying on people the court would never allow: other politicians or journalists or members of the armed forces. Or the wingnuts that make up his base.
Bush is asking us to trust him in this. I have a lot of trouble trusting a president who has been caught lying so many times.