President Bush has defended his decision to authorize the secret monitoring of suspected terrorists without a court order.
In a news conference Monday, Mr. Bush said he will continue approving the program, which Democratic senators say is possibly illegal, as most U-S wiretapping requires a court order. Mr. Bush said the surveillance program is limited to those known to have ties to al-Qaida. During the news conference, the president also defended his Iraq policy and called for renewal of the Patriot Act, a controversial measure expanding the government's search and surveillance powers enacted in the aftermath of the September 11th 2001 attacks and set to expire December 31st. Democratic Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid called on the president and the Republican leadership to pass an improved Patriot Act that has the confidence of the American people.