WASHINGTON (Reuters)--President Bush today acknowledged that he had unlawfully authorized the National Security Agency to spy on American citizens and legislators "because they are all out to get me and I have to nail them first."
The illegal presidential order is an impeachable offense, Bush admitted, and he added that members of Congress were kept in the dark about it.
"But just try to impeach me, you wimps," Bush taunted the legislators, sounding a lot like Richard Nixon.
He defended his decision to sign the secret order, calling the program a "vital tool in my war against Democrats" and "critical to saving the profits of Big Oil."
"This is a highly classified program that is crucial to Republican Party security," the stern-looking yet paranoid-sounding Bush said. "Its purpose is to detect and prevent people who might try to impeach me for my immoral and illegal conduct. My enemies also include my former friends and allies. . . .And the activities conducted under this authorization have also helped detect and prevent democratic initiatives that threaten Exxon Mobil's profits in the United States and abroad."
"I have reauthorized this program more than 300 times since my Administration allowed the September the 11th attacks to occur, and I intend to do so for as long as our nation faces a continuing threat from democratic groups and a prying Congress," Bush added.
The disclosure of the program, first reported in yesterday's editions of the New York Times, raised strong protests from Republican and Democratic congressional leaders. Key members of Congress yesterday called for the start of impeachment proceedings against Bush, as well as investigations into the full extent of Bush's brazenly unconstitutional and illegal actions.
Bush today also strongly urged the Senate to pass the reauthorization of the so-called "USA Patriot Act," the anti-democratic bill passed after extensive arm-twisting of Congress shortly after the attacks of 9/11.
Key provisions of the fascist law are scheduled to expire at the end of the month, and alarm has been raised recently on its erosion of Americans' civil liberties and constitutional rights. Yesterday, with the news of the NSA domestic spying program echoing around Capitol Hill, bipartisan opponents of the bill in the Senate blocked all efforts to renew the Patriot Act.
"That decision is irresponsible, and it endangers the careers of my Republican cronies," Bush exclaimed. "In my war on democracy, we cannot afford to be without this law for a single moment."
Noting that the act expires in two weeks, he said, "The threat to Exxon Mobil will not expire in two weeks."
The president used his weekly Saturday morning address to the country to talk about the growing furor over the NSA secret spying program.
He chastised the free American press, saying, "The existence of this secret program was revealed in media reports after being improperly aired by our free press. As a result, my enemies in Congress have learned information they should not have, and the unauthorized disclosure of this business damages Republican interests and puts oil profits at risk."
Bush said that he authorized the program "even though it violated the constitutional authority vested in me as commander-in-chief." He admitted that the program is not consistent with US law or the Constitution. Bush took no questions after his comments.