Cheney: Domestic spying essential to war on terror

U.S. Vice President &to=' target=_blank>Dick Cheney offered a robust defense of the George W. Bush administration's domestic surveillance program Thursday, calling it an essential tool in monitoring the activities of al-Qaida and associated terrorist organizations. But he stressed the program was limited in scope and had been conducted in a way that safeguarded civil liberties.

In a luncheon speech at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative public policy think tank, Cheney warned that the United States still faced significant threats from terrorists intent on establishing a radical Islamic empire throughout Northern Africa and the Middle East. He insisted the U.S.-led war in Iraq was essential to combating that threat, and said American military presence in that country would be determined by military commanders, "not by artificial timelines set by politicians in Washington, DC."

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