The reporter is asking, basically, what's wrong with the FISA system, and what are the W, Rove and Co doing to fix it. And then, the gem of a question comes out - I bolded and highlighted the statement so you can find it readily. Again, you get more spin from Scotty as he tries to use his Rovian tactics to paint the Democrats as evil.
I'm just wondering when the magic is going to wear off for these bastards in the W, Rove and Co. Sooner than later they are going to peer into the mirror and instead of seeing the princes they think they all are, they see toads.
Q Scott, yesterday on the talk shows several -- the lawmakers suggested that the President should ask Congress for any fixes that he might see in the FISA law. Is the President inclined to ask Congress for any changes?P.S. It's important to note that the Dems didn't start critizing the illegal spying on the American people until they understood the vast conspiricy originating in the Whitehouse. And it took the NYTimes to expose them. Most Dems didn't even know about it until it was made public. So, to paint all Dems as opertunist is really false accusation - to answer the question Scotty didn't.
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, a couple of things. This goes to the terrorist surveillance program we were just talking about. It is -- again, this is a targeted effort aimed at al Qaeda communications coming into or out of the United States. It is a limited, hot pursuit effort to prevent and detect attacks inside America. And it is a vital tool. It is such a vital tool that the President believes it was important to brief key congressional leaders about it -- about the program and the activities conducted under it. We've done that more than a dozen times since it was first authorized. We continue to brief members of Congress about this vital tool. In those discussions, there was conversation -- my understanding is that there were conversations about this very issue. And the people that were involved in those congressional briefings felt that it was best to proceed as we were. I mean, we will always continue to work closely with Congress on these issues. There are hearings coming up. We'll continue to work with them.
But the President has the clear authority to do this. And it's within his constitutional authority, it's within the authority that was granted to him by Congress. All federal courts that have looked at issues like this have upheld that authority. And in terms of FISA, that's an important tool, as well. And we continue to use the FISA tool. General Hayden will be talking about that, I think, in his remarks today.
But this -- FISA was created in a different time period and didn't anticipate some of the issues we'd have to be dealing with with all the technological advances that we've seen in the last few decades. And the American people clearly want us to do everything within our power to protect them from further attacks. We know that the enemy is determined to strike us again. It is a sophisticated and deadly enemy. And that's why the President is going to continue doing everything within his power to disrupt plots and prevent attacks.
Q He doesn't think there's anything that needs fixing, then?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, like I said, this very issue came up -- whether or not there needs to be changes in the law -- during the consultations with Congress, with the congressional leaders, and to reflect what the President's authority is. The President already has the authority to do this. But we work very closely with Congress. That's why we brief Congress, that's why we briefed Congress more than 12 times about this very program, the appropriate congressional leaders, and we will continue to do so.
Q -- FISA is outdated, why not change it, why not ask Congress to change it so that it reflects the modern era, modern technology?
MR. McCLELLAN: I didn't say it was outdated. We use FISA. FISA is an important tool. It didn't anticipate some of the technological issues that needed to be addressed through this. This is about addressing a specific problem that was highlighted in the 9/11 Commission report. We had two al Qaeda members operating inside the United States and we didn't find out about their communications until it was too late.
Q But why not make FISA usable now, in the modern era?
MR. McCLELLAN: I just indicated, we'll continue to work with Congress. But the President has the clear authority to do what he's doing, and that's what the American people expect him to do, to act fully within the law, and to do everything he can to protect them. And I think there are some Democratic leaders that have continued to engage in misleading, false attacks about this vital tool. And we're going to continue to educate the American people about this vital tool.
Q You don't think it's a false attack to say that Democrats are saying that we don't want to monitor al Qaeda calls? That's not exactly an accurate statement.
MR. McCLELLAN: Democrats are attacking this very vital tool in false ways. All you have to do is go look at the remarks, when they talk about the legal authorization. I mean, what I said yesterday, it defies common sense that the President would go and brief members of Congress about this authorization if he thought he was operating outside of his authority. They were fully aware of this program. Democrats didn't start criticizing it until it -- until the unauthorized disclosure of this program to The New York Times. And it's important for the American people to understand what this authorization is and what it is not. And that's why General Hayden is giving his remarks today; that's why the President is going to be talking about this in his remarks, as well. Now some Democrats want to try to have it both ways. And that's what this is about.
MR. McCLELLAN: Thank you.