WASHINGTON (CN) – The warrantless wiretapping of the George W. Bush administration was a far more extensive than what the administration had acknowledged, and much less effective, says an inter-agency report released Friday.
Intelligence officers interviewed for the report, which was mandated last year by Congress, had difficulty stating specifically how the wiretapping program had hampered terrorists, the document says.
It goes further, and concludes that Bush authorized wiretapping programs that the administration never acknowledged.
Information on the wiretapping was so restricted that the Justice Department couldn’t effectively monitor the program, the inspectors general wrote.
And the secrecy of the program limited the number of people able to follow any leads.
Bush administration officials have nonetheless called the program an essential tool in combating terrorists.
The wiretapping began shortly after the attacks in 2001, and administration officials admitted in 2005 that they had allowed wiretapping without court orders.