Pelosi Says Bush is Wrong on FISA

By Lindsay Hamilton

Mar 15, 2008 12:42pm

ABC News’ Lindsay Hamilton reports: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., defended the House version of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on Friday. The FISA bill passed in the House on Friday, but still needs to be reconciled with the Senate’s version. President Bush has said he would veto the House bill.

When asked by Stephanopoulos about the president’s take that the House version of FISA will make America less safe, Pelosi responded, "The president is wrong, and the president knows it."

"The bill that we had put forth really was based on what we call the McConnell principles, the principles that the director of national intelligence said were essential to keeping America safe. The president has a different view," Pelosi said. "The president knows that he has all the authority he needs to collect from the underlying FISA bill and the orders that are still in place."

"Is he lying to the country?" Stephanopoulos asked.

"The president knows that he has all the authority he needs — the underlying FISA bill and the orders he already has in place with the Protect America Act that passed earlier," Pelosi responded. "Certainly there needed to be modernizations to the original FISA bill to reflect the changes in technology, and the president knows that Democrats support the collection against these terrorists, wherever the point of collection is, if they fit the bill of who should be collected upon."

Pelosi continued, "The president maintains that he has inherent authority to spy on anyone, and our bill is consistent with the law that says that FISA is the authority under which collections may take place.  This was recognized in 1978, when President Carter signed a bill, written by Congress, placing the courts in charge of how intelligence is collected in the United States. The president rejects that and says, ‘I can do whatever I want.’"

To see the full exchange between Pelosi and Stephanopoulos on FISA, click here.

The complete interview with Speaker Pelosi will air Sunday on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."

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