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Gonzales suggests that Bush has the authority to order warrantless wiretapping of calls, emails

RAW STORY
Published: Thursday April 6, 2006

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Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales suggested for the first time on Thursday that the president might have the legal authority to order wiretapping without a warrant on communications between Americans that occur exclusively within the United States, the NEW YORK TIMES reports Friday. Excerpts:

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"I'm not going to rule it out," Gonzales said when asked about that possibility at a House Judiciary Committee hearing.

The attorney general made his comments, which critics said reflected a broadened view of the president's authority, as President Bush offered another strong defense of his decision to authorize the National Security Agency to eavesdrop without warrants on international calls and e-mail messages to or from the United States.

Bush, in an appearance in North Carolina, told a questioner who attacked the program that he would "absolutely not" apologize for authorizing it.

"You can come to whatever conclusion you want" about the merits of the program," Bush said. "The conclusion is I'm not going to apologize for what I did on the terrorist surveillance program."

At the House hearing, Gonzales faced tough questioning from Democrats and Republicans but declined to discuss many operational details.

Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., the Wisconsin Republican who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee and one of the administration's staunchest allies, accused the administration of "stonewalling."

FULL STORY HERE