http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0512/26/sitroom.03.html (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Madam Secretary, thanks very much for joining us. CONDOLEEZZA RICE, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: A pleasure to be with you, Wolf. BLITZER: You were the national security advisor right after 9/11 when the president authorized this extraordinary decision to go ahead with surveillance eavesdropping on Americans and others, making international phone calls or faxes or e-mails, without getting court orders. How did that decision come about? Neo-Con Rule 1: downplay RICE: The president has -- first of all, let's talk about what he authorized. He authorized the National Security Agency to collect information on a limited number of people with ties to Al Qaeda in order to be able to close the gap, the seam, between the domestic territory of the United States and foreign territory. One of the clear findings of the 9/11 Commission was that our intelligence agencies were looking outward. Our law enforcement agencies were looking inward. And a gap had developed. We didn't know the connection between what people with terrorist ties inside the United States were doing, to what people who were terrorists or might be planning terrorist operations outside the country were doing. So the president made that decision. He did it on the basis of his constitutional authority under Article II and other statutory authorities. I think the attorney general spoke to those legal issues earlier. And he did it to protect the country. Because these days, after September 11th, we recognized and he recognized, as the one with real responsibility for protecting the country, that if you let people commit the crime, then thousands of people die. So you have to detect it before it happens. Neo-Con Rule 2: detract BLITZER: But there was a mechanism, still is a mechanism that's been in place since 1978 -- the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the FISA Court to go ahead and get this authority with the court warrant. Why not use that? RICE: First of all, the FISA Act, 1978, very different circumstances imagined at the time. FISA has been principally for a longer-term monitoring and it has been capable of helping us when we're principally concerned with the activities of people acting on behalf of a foreign government. You can imagine those are often longer-term matters. But the kind of agility that is needed to detect rather than to monitor, as the president talked about today, it -- the president needed to draw on these other authorities, and he has. BLITZER: But even within the FISA Act, there are extraordinary circumstances that would allow the wiretap, the surveillance to begin. Then within 72 hours you can still go and get the warrant. RICE: Let's just say these people, these networks, these shadowy networks, which are not associated with countries -- they're stateless -- are not stable targets, are pretty agile themselves. And so, in order to give our intelligence agencies the agility they need -- in order to detect, Wolf -- and I want to say once again, the president has a constitutional responsibility to protect the country. That means physically. It also means to protect the civil liberties of Americans under the Constitution. And he of course has both responsibilities and takes both very seriously. That's why this was done with thorough levels of review. It has to be reauthorized every 45 days. It was briefed to Congress numerous times, or to relevant congressional officials numerous times. And so the president and his advisers thought this the best way to give him the ability as -- under his responsibilities as commander in chief to defend the country. Neo-Con Rule 3: dissemble BLITZER: Because you know the history. You're a student of history. You know the history of the abuses of this kind of domestic spying going back to the '60s and '70s. And when the Supreme Court made a decision, it was 9-0, 1972, United States versus U.S. District Court, Louis Powell, the justice wrote this: Security surveillances are especially sensitive because of the inherent vagueness of the domestic security concept, the necessarily broad and continuing nature of intelligence gathering, and the temptation to utilize such surveillances to oversee political dissent." You remember the spying of Dr. Martin Luther King. RICE: I do. BLITZER: And other Americans opposed to the war in Vietnam. And national security considerations were then justified for that kind of surveillance. And then Powell went on to say that, the Fourth Amendment protects Americans -- let me read specifically what he wrote, 9-0 decision, "from unreasonable search and seizures and free then he said "that freedom cannot be properly guaranteed if domestic security surveillances are conducted solely at the discretion of the executive branch." RICE: Well, first of all, the president is more than aware of the civil liberties concerns. And that is why this has been structured in such a very limited and controlled way. With multiple layers of oversight, with lawyers of Justice and of the National Security Agency overseeing it, briefings to Congress. It's also why, as the attorney general spoke to earlier, the president is drawing on existing authorities under the Constitution, under statute. We also have to note, Wolf, that it is limited in scope. Limited to people who are associated with ties to Al Qaeda. BLITZER: How do you know these people are associated with Al Qaeda? RICE: Well, I'm not going to get into the program. But let's just remember that in 2001, we experienced what it meant to not know what conversations were going on inside the country that were connecting to terrorists plotting outside the country. We learned what that produced. And it produced the kind of devastation that we had on September the 11th. And so the president has an obligation to try and close that seam. And that is what he's done with this program. BLITZER: When you were the national security advisor, did you ever say, "Well, maybe we should go seek new legislation, get some new authority, go to the courts and make sure this is done so that there would be no question whatsoever that this was done properly"? RICE: Wolf, this was a carefully and very deliberately considered issue for the president of how best to fulfill his responsibilities to protect the country and how best to do it legally, within his constitutional and legal authorities. BLITZER: This is an extremely sensitive national security issue. RICE: Of course. BLITZER: Doesn't get much more sensitive than this. As a result I'm confused why the president decided to publicly acknowledge it. RICE: I think the president felt that after this very damaging leak -- and, frankly, there -- it's a very sad day when the United States reveals to the people that we are trying to follow, trying to track, trying to disrupt, how we're doing it. And anything about how we're doing it. You know, Wolf, as the president cited earlier, we had a bead on Osama bin Laden's phone at one point, too. And when an article appeared saying that, he stopped using it from all that we can tell. So it is a danger to the country when there are leaks of this sort. But the president felt that given this, he needed to explain it to the American people without exposing the details of the program. And there have to be limitations in order not to expose the details of the program. But that he need to explain that he was using his constitutional authority to protect the country, in order to detect these plots, but, also, to protect their civil liberties. BLITZER: Madam Secretary, thanks very much. RICE: Thank you. ------ Rice is now blaming the media for Osama not being caught. She refused to answer the key questions about why they couldn't just go to FISA court or how did they know these were specifically A-Q. She answered his questions with obfuscation and Wolf "I'm a patsy of the right" Blitzer didn't even notice. She is a great neo-con though. Just look at the way she downplays-distracts-dissembles.