The Prez defends his phone-tapping policy

I couldn't help but suppress a chuckle or six last night when President Bush appeared on TV defending his decision to eavesdrop on American citizen's phone calls since the 2001 terrorist attacks.

I honestly don't know how he kept a straight face when he told reporters that "the fact that we're discussing this programme is helping the enemy."

For those that don't know, the New York Times caused a stir late last week when it revealed the Bush administration had a covert wiretap programme in operation, which appeared to contravene US telecommunications legislation.

Except that Dubya had quietly passed secret legislation to make such eavesdropping legal. Just that nobody really knew about the legislation, or the fact that the eavesdropping was taking place.

The secret law expires at the end of this month and Dubya wants it renewing without discussion.

Sorry Mr President - don't blame the people. It's all down to the US government and the various decisions made by your predecessors, including, of course, your pappy, Bush Senior.

Of course, it's notable that the US Freedom of Information Act allows US newspapers to print stuff about the Patriot Act and similar legislation.

It could never happen here. Or could it? I guess we'll never know, as it's a fair bet that UK covert eavesdropping does go on, just that we, the Great British Public, are not allowed to heard about such

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