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A Possible Clue On Domestic Spying

by Pamela Leavey

There’s an interesting little note in Tuesday’s WaPo on Bush and his domestic spying program…

Did Bob Woodward drop a clue in his book “Bush at War”? Woodward says NOT. This month he “noted that he has not referred to the NSA’s warrantless spying program in his books or reporting.”

Did President Bush mention the government’s secret warrantless surveillance program to the president of Pakistan more than four years ago? A brief passage of a 2002 book seems to raise that possibility.

In “Bush at War,” Bob Woodward recounts a meeting between Bush and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf at the Waldorf Towers in New York in early November 2001.

Bush started by talking about plans for a quick victory in Afghanistan but then turned to another topic, according to the passage on Page 303:

“He had become fascinated with the ability of the National Security Agency to intercept phone calls and other communications worldwide,” Woodward wrote, referring to Bush. “If they got the key phone calls, future terrorism might be stopped, certainly curtailed. Bush summarized his strategy: ‘Listen to every phone call and close them down and protect the innocents.’ ”

By this time, Bush had already issued his order allowing the NSA to intercept communications between the United States and overseas locations without warrants. The program was never divulged publicly, however, until press reports last December.

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