Wednesday, December 21, 2005

President Bush says he would get a court order for wiretaps

Listen here (29 seconds)
This is what President Bush had to say about wiretaps on April 20, 2004
Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution.
Full text and audio of speech here.

Please note the President has authorized the NSA to use wiretaps on hundreds (if not thousands) of U.S. Citizens.

5 Comments:

Blogger bobby_b said...

A domestic wiretap does, indeed, require a warrant, or compliance with the pre-warrent precepts of FISA.

A satellite intercept in a foreign country does not.

Describe for me your argument that an individual who is calling to, or being called from, a foreign number explicitly linked to Al Queda has a "reasonable expectation of privacy."

12:16 PM  
Blogger Michael M said...

Where in the above post does it say that a foreign number explicitly linked to Al Queda has a "reasonable expectation of privacy."?

And of course since there is no oversight to this since the court specifically set up to expidite and handle these wiretaps in secret is being circumvented, all we have is the Bush administration saying "trust us".

3:10 PM  
Blogger bobby_b said...

"Reasonable expectation of privacy" is the legal underpinning for a claim of Constitutional "privacy" violation. It's the test for the reasonableness of a search or intrusion. It's the key concept in this entire debate.

And, where do you get the idea that the Constitution calls for "oversight" (undersight?) by the courts of the actions and orders of the president in this situation?

9:52 AM  
Blogger Michael M said...

And there you go again citing things I did not say. Look closely and you won't find the word "constitution" in my posting unless you're referring to President Bush's quote about constitutional guarantees.

It's the Patriot Act that set up a court to provide oversight to this process. President Bush has decided he does not need to abide by the Patriot Act and that his executive powers superceeds laws that congress has passed.

For the moment let's assume that he does legally have that power. Why set up a second system to do exactly the same thing? The secret court has swiftly approved thousands of warrants and has only rejected a few. It appears the only difference between the system approved by law and the system Bush uses is one has oversight and accountability and one does not. If you know of any other differences, please let me know.

12:16 PM  
Blogger bobby_b said...

Well, no, you didn't bring it up, but the Constitutional issues are central to this entire discussion, I think, especially when you start to speak of "oversight." The Constitution provides certain powers to the executive branch, and no act of Congress can impinge on those powers, nor require oversight of the exercise of those powers by Congress or the courts.

FISA sets up a scheme regulating internal wiretaps for national security. The controversy over NSA's (or Bush's) acts does not touch on such issues, but rather on the presidential "protect and defend" powers (for want of a better shorthand.) These are entirely seperate processes, when you consider that all of the intercepts are occurring overseas. If NSA and Bush did originally subject themselves to the internally-aimed process, all I can figure is that they later determined that they needn't do so, and that it was an unneeded and unwarranted (no pun intended) drag on what should be an instantaneous and secret process that was entirely within the presidential powers.

In any event, the thrust of my first post was supposed to be that you were using snark to make an inapposite underlying point. Facts are, the prez doesn't need warrants to intercept calls between Al Queda and here, he has the Constitutionally-granted powers to do this, and, frankly, he wouldn't be doing his job if he weren't looking at such calls.

2:36 PM  

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