Does the President have the ability to conduct wiretaps of Al Qaeda Friends/Suspects in the US?

December 20, 2005


It’s a mixed bag. The Attorney General believes the President has the final say in issues of national security. This blogger believes the President has the constitutional authority to do it, but the FISA act (ironically) may have erased his ability to be the final determinant.
The Wall Street Journal editorial, not surprisingly, comes out on the side of the President. I’m with the President here, too. And here’s Michelle Malkin’s take on the entire issue noting the 60 Minutes’ piece in 2000 about Echelon with the observation that (surprise!) nobody called for President Clinton’s impeachment over this issue. Oh, I know he was ALREADY impeached, but I guess the lesson here is if you’re IGNORING the terrorists or toying with them instead of ENGAGING them, according to the MSM, that’s a more tolerable approach when you go about wiretapping citizens.
Has this ever been done before? Uh, yeah. Carter, Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43. Read Byron York’s piece in the National Review today about this very thing.
But here’s his main point about the honorary member of the united brotherhood of brick layers:

“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,” Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on July 14, 1994, “and that the President may, as has been done, delegate this authority to the Attorney General.”

“It is important to understand,” Gorelick continued, “that the rules and methodology for criminal searches are inconsistent with the collection of foreign intelligence and would unduly frustrate the president in carrying out his foreign intelligence responsibilities.”

Executive Order 12333, signed by Ronald Reagan in 1981, provides for such warrantless searches directed against “a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power.”

Please keep your comments short. If you need to go longer please use links.

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://