Richard Nixon - “I’m not a crook.”
George W. Bush - “I’m above the law and can do whatever I want.” (or words to that effect).
I think it is important to distinguish legal domestic spying by the NSA which goes on all the time and is indeed important in the war on terror, from the secretive, illegal spying that Bush has authorized.
Joshua Micah Marshall touches on that distinction
...it seems the White House and some editors are taking to arguing that surveillance or domestic wiretapping is necessary for national security, that it saves lives.
Of course, it does. What a stupid thing to say, or for the White House, what a disingenuous thing to say.
Wiretaps are conducted around the country every day. The FISA Court alone approves something like a half a dozen a day in highly classified national security or espionage related cases.
The only issue here is why the president decided to go around the normal rules that govern such surveillance, why he chose to make himself above the law.
and Redhedd at firedoglake goes more in depth.
Suffice it to say that we already have provisions in place to allow for emergency spying when security issues are at stake. Why does the Bush administration still feel that it has to circumvent the law this many years after 9/11 and not allow the FISA court to oversee their spying operations?