A story hot off the presses at the AP involves President Bush’s appearance at a Republican conference of Congressmen earlier today. Unbeknownst to Bush, the microphones used by the press earlier remained on when he began to address the conference in its closed session. Sounds like a reporter’s dream come true? It must have seemed that way when he began talking about the NSA surveillance program after asking the attendees to keep the remarks to themselves.
So what secrets did Bush tell them about the wiretaps? Let’s just say it shocked the press:
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.
Wow … what a shock! The press had a golden opportunity to nail Bush — but they discovered that he tells the same story behind closed doors that he tells the American public. They discovered that the GOP has no great conspiracy … just a President trying his best to defend his country from terrorist attacks.
Bet this doesn’t make the front page tomorrow.