The IUSB Vision Weblog

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Court rules once again that warrantless foreign intelligence surveillance program is legal – NYT reports on it just in time for Obama to use.

Posted by iusbvision on January 30, 2009

The media reporting this just in time for the new Obama Administration. As you may recall, Obama campaigned against this program as illegal and within days of winning the primary against Hillary Clinton reversed himself and adopted the Bush position.

What the media didn’t tell people is that the courts have ruled many times that the president does not need a warrant to conduct searches and wiretaps when a foreign intelligence threat is involved. Once again the court has ruled the exact same way.

The three-judge court, which hears rare appeals from the full Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, addressed provisions of the Protect America Act, passed by Congress in 2007 amid the controversy over Mr. Bush’s program of wiretapping without warrants. It found that the administration had put in place sufficient privacy safeguards to meet the constitutional standards of the Fourth Amendment’s ban on unreasonable searches. Because of that, the company had to cooperate, the court said.

That finding bolstered the Bush administration’s broader arguments on wiretapping without warrants, both critics and supporters said.

William C. Banks, a law professor at Syracuse University who has criticized the administration’s legal position on eavesdropping, said that while the ruling did not address Mr. Bush’s surveillance without warrants directly, “it does bolster his case” by recognizing that eavesdropping for national security purposes did not always require warrants.

Coming in the final days of the Bush administration, the ruling was hailed by the administration and conservatives as a victory for an aggressive approach to counterterrorism. The Justice Department said in a statement that it was “pleased with this important ruling.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/16/washington/16fisa.html?_r=2&partner=rss&emc=rss

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