He called the domestic surveillance a "vital tool in our war against the terrorists" and said his action was fully consistent with his "constitutional responsibilities and authorities." And he said, in his White House news conference, that he has no plans to stop the domestic spying program.
The response from critics has been swift and stark, with Democratic Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin saying, "We will not tolerate a president who believes that he is the sole decision-maker when it comes to the policies that this country should have in the war against terror and the policies we should have to protect the rights of completely innocent Americans."
Hear about President Bush's domestic spying program and the now open debate about the use and abuse of presidential power in the war on terror.
Rick Schmitt, reporter, The Los Angeles Times
David Cole, professor, Georgetown University Law Center and author of "Enemy Aliens: Double Standards and Constitutional Freedoms in the War on Terrorism"
Robert Turner, associate director, Center for National Security Law at the University of Virginia
James Bamford, investigative reporter who has written extensively on national security issues and author of "A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq, and the Abuse of America's Intelligence Agencies"
Associate Counsel to the President of the United States (2001 to 2003).
This program aired on December 20, 2005.