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The eavesdropping tables were turned on President Bush on Friday.
The president apparently believed he was speaking privately when he
talked about listening in without a warrant on domestic communications
with suspected al-Qaida terrorists overseas. But reporters were the
ones doing the listening in this time.
The incident happened at a House Republican retreat. After six
minutes of public remarks by the president, reporters were ushered out.
“I support the free press, let’s just get them out of the room,” Bush
said, intending to speak behind closed doors with fellow Republicans
and take lawmakers’ questions.
When reporters left, Bush spoke about the National Security Agency
program that he authorized four years ago and which has drawn criticism
from Democrats and Republicans alike.
However, the microphones stayed on for a few minutes. That allowed
journalists back at the White House to eavesdrop on Bush’s defense of
the eavesdropping. His private statements were basically no different
from what he’s said in public.
“I want to share some thoughts with you before I answer your
questions,” Bush began. “First of all, I expect this conversation we’re
about to have to stay in the room. I know that’s impossible in
He was right.