Bush acknowledges approving secretive eavesdropping in U.S.

Facing angry criticism and challenges to his authority in Congress, President George W. Bush on Saturday unapologetically defended his administration's right to conduct secret post-Sept. 11 spying in the U.S. as "critical to saving American lives."

One Democrat said Bush was acting more like a king than a democratically elected leader.

Bush's willingness to publicly acknowledge some of the government's most classified activities was a stunning development for a president known to dislike disclosure of even the most mundane inner workings of his &to=http://english.pravda.ru/world/20/92/373/16439_azerbaijan.html' target=_blank>White House.

Since October 2001, the super-secret National Security Agency has monitored, without court-approved warrants, the international phone calls and e-mails of people inside the United States.

News of the program comes at a particularly damaging and delicate time.

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