December 22, 2005


'Warrantless' searches not unprecedented (Charles Hurt, December 22, 2005, THE WASHINGTON TIMES)

Previous administrations, as well as the court that oversees national security cases, agreed with President Bush's position that a president legally may authorize searches without warrants in pursuit of foreign intelligence.

"The Department of Justice believes -- and the case law supports -- that the president has inherent authority to conduct warrantless physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes and that the president may, as he has done, delegate this authority to the attorney general," Clinton Deputy Attorney General Jamie S. Gorelick said in 1994 testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

That same authority, she added, pertains to electronic surveillance such as wiretaps.

More recently, the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court -- the secretive judicial system that handles classified intelligence cases -- wrote in a declassified opinion that the court has long held "that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information." [...]

In a 2002 opinion about the constitutionality of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and the USA Patriot Act, the court wrote: "We take for granted that the President does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA could not encroach on the President's constitutional power."

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 22, 2005 7:53 AM

Hey, don't let this blow over too fast. We need it for the mid-terms.

Posted by: David Cohen at December 22, 2005 12:19 PM

It's a testament to the ignorance of the MSM and of -- it seems -- so many Dem pols (tho I think most of them know this and are simply arguing in bad faith), that this article needed to be written.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at December 22, 2005 3:44 PM

David is right. This is a major "Whom God would destroy. . .." moment Reflect for a moment that the bombs have been going off all Europe and not here.

We cannot say whether this is due to effective security, superior terror, or even to enemy strategy. We can say who gets credit for it, however.

Posted by: Lou Gots at December 23, 2005 3:17 PM

National security is no doubt a big issue however this would certainly raise some voices about citizen's right. After the 2001 terror attack security can't be compromised though.

Posted by: Jane Stick at December 27, 2005 1:37 AM