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George W. Bush Defends Monitoring 'Techniques

"We didn’t have the tools. We’ve got the tools."

President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush shake hands during the opening ceremony of the George W. Bush Presidential Center on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas on April 25, 2013. (Getty Images)

Former President George W. Bush this week defended the government's newly-disclosed "techniques" to monitor phone and Internet data.

President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush shake hands during the opening ceremony of the George W. Bush Presidential Center on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas on April 25, 2013. (Getty Images)

The College Fix obtained an audio recording of a private speech the former president gave in California on Thursday:

“There’s kind of a view that maybe they’ve gone away – they haven’t,” Bush said, referring to terrorists. “And now, techniques used to prevent attacks have been disclosed. I don’t know if you remember after 9/11, Congress had hearings, right? And you know what the hearings were about? We didn’t connect the dots. Well, we didn’t have the tools there to connect the dots.”

“One of the killers makes a phone call from San Diego to somewhere, how come you didn’t know? We didn’t have the tools. We’ve got the tools. Now the people in Congress are saying, ‘Why are you connecting the dots?’ It’s a tough assignment for the president. It is.”

According to the site, Bush did not specifically refer to the National Security Agency's obtaining of millions of phone records in the name of national security, or the once-secret data collecting program known as PRISM. Bush also did not mention the Patriot Act -- which he signed into law in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks -- by name, but said he had "made a lot of tough decisions."

"But I hope my citizens understand that they [the decisions] are all designed to uphold the Constitution and protect the American people,” Bush said. “People forget – there are a lot of threats. … Until free societies marginalize radicals, this nation is still at risk. We are in an ideological conflict, facing people who murder the innocent to advance their point of view.”

(H/T: National Review)

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