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  #1  
Old 12-21-2005, 01:42 PM
adios adios is offline
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Default President had legal authority to OK taps

President had legal authority to OK taps

From a former Clinton associate Attorney General.

Every president since FISA's passage has asserted that he retained inherent power to go beyond the act's terms. Under President Clinton, deputy Atty. Gen. Jamie Gorelick testified that "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


But we cannot eliminate the need for extraordinary action in the kind of unforeseen circumstances presented by Sept.11. I do not believe the Constitution allows Congress to take away from the president the inherent authority to act in response to a foreign attack. That inherent power is reason to be careful about who we elect as president, but it is authority we have needed in the past and, in the light of history, could well need again.
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  #2  
Old 12-21-2005, 01:44 PM
Exsubmariner Exsubmariner is offline
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Default Re: President had legal authority to OK taps

How dare you drag Clinton's good name into this!
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  #3  
Old 12-21-2005, 01:59 PM
BluffTHIS! BluffTHIS! is offline
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Default Re: President had legal authority to OK taps

Yeah, let's start the 10th friggin thread on this and ignore the fact that I quoted most of that a couple days ago in another one.
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  #4  
Old 12-21-2005, 02:55 PM
andyfox andyfox is offline
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Default Re: President had legal authority to OK taps

Your citation of the WSJ editorial which mentioned cases probably got somewhat lost buried in the other thread. I see nothing wrong with having a thread here started by Adios, who is a longterm and justly respected poster.

I looked over the case the WSJ mentioned. Here's a link:

http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/t...a111802opn.pdf

It's hard reading. The relevant section is section III, but it's not too relevant. It seems to be talking about using intelligence gained from FISA for the purpose of conducting foreign policy vs. using it for the purpose of criminal prosecution. All it does that is relevant to warrantless wiretapping, it seems to me, is cite another case, United States vs. Truong, 629F.2d, 4th circuit. (I could not find that case with a somewhat cursory google search just now.) See page 48 of the link.

My question is this: If indeed, Truong and other cases have asserted or assumed the president's right to conduct a warrantless search prior to the institution of FISA, does FISA define a new procedure, in other words, superseeding that assumption, or does it merely say how a search with a warrant is to be conducted? I note that the case cited by the WSJ talks about Truong as dealing with "pre-FISA" surveillance. That would seem to indicate that FISA established new parameters for both warrantless and warranted suveillance.

Here's a link to FISA:

http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/h...0_36_20_I.html
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  #5  
Old 12-21-2005, 03:16 PM
Kurn, son of Mogh Kurn, son of Mogh is offline
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Default Re: President had legal authority to OK taps

Great. So two big-government Presidents both of whom represent authoritaian outlooks believe these incursions into privacy are correct.

Yet another good reason to vote Libertarian.
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  #6  
Old 12-21-2005, 04:00 PM
CORed CORed is offline
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Default Re: President had legal authority to OK taps

Clinton's record on civil liberties is far from good. He fought tooth and nail to restrict encryption, even after the pulication of PGP on the net made it a moot point, and supported the Communications Decency act, just off the top of my head. I don't have much patience with the "Clinton did it" act as a defence for every excess of Dubbaya's. Let the impeachment begin.
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  #7  
Old 12-21-2005, 04:15 PM
BluffTHIS! BluffTHIS! is offline
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Default Re: President had legal authority to OK taps

I am no lawyer so I'm going to try to analyze this thing further legally except for the following comments. Besides the question you pose as to how the previous precedents apply, the WSJ piece also alluded to the fact that no president has yet to "recognize" FISA. Thus if FISA is in fact an unconstitutional limitation of the president's inherent powers, then he is free to comply or not as he pleases. This would be similar to the disputes over the War Powers Act.

And the fact that the Attorney General, though a political appointee, has vetted the president's actions is not insignificant as he is the chief legal interpreter in absence of court decisions, although I don't believe his opinion carries the force of law as it does in many states with a state AG.

If the president has in fact exceeded his authority, then the only way such a determination can be made is for members of congress to bring a suit before the SCOTUS and have them decide it.
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  #8  
Old 12-21-2005, 05:04 PM
Chris Alger Chris Alger is offline
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Default Re: President had legal authority to OK taps

The shoddy argumentation evidenced in your link is characteristic of Bush apologetics. There is no dispute or controversy over whether Bush can eavesdrop of foreign communications without a warrant. The issue, which Schmidt addresses only obliquely, is whether the President can conduct warrentless searches on U.S. citizens. The White House position is that the President's status as commander-in-chief during the now continuous "wartime" means that no U.S. citizen has any constitutional protection from encroachment by the Executive branch -- that the President can use one vague phrase in the Constitution to erase all the others.

And, of course, there's always the howler: "But we cannot eliminate the need for extraordinary action in the kind of unforeseen circumstances presented by Sept. 11." Bin Laden was at the top of the FBI's most wanted list the day before 9/11. Islamicist terrorists had previously attacked the same target. The intelligence services reported that al Qaeda was "determined" to attack on U.S. soil. A blue-ribbon commission expressly warned, after more than two eyars of investigation, that terrorists attacks on U.S. soil were not only foreseeable but "likely." This is the sort of transparent deception that persuaded tens of millions of Republicans not only to condone and tolerate mass murder in Iraq but also to jettison their own, paid-in-blood rights. The greater threat to Americans is not from without, but from within.
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  #9  
Old 12-21-2005, 05:46 PM
adios adios is offline
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Default Re: President had legal authority to OK taps

[ QUOTE ]
The issue, which Schmidt addresses only obliquely, is whether the President can conduct warrentless searches on U.S. citizens.

[/ QUOTE ]

I'm not as up-to-date on this as you are I'm sure. My understanding is that the NYT bruhaha is about eavesdropping on communications between U.S. citizens and foreign contacts. More info on what you are stating would be appreciated.

[ QUOTE ]
The White House position is that the President's status as commander-in-chief during the now continuous "wartime" means that no U.S. citizen has any constitutional protection from encroachment by the Executive branch -- that the President can use one vague phrase in the Constitution to erase all the others.

[/ QUOTE ]

You may surprised by this but I think this a legitimate point you make. I brought up the legitimacy of the term "War on Terror" in another recent post and I think alot of people have a problem with this term for the reason you imply. When does "wartime" end in such a war as the "War on Terror?"

[ QUOTE ]
And, of course, there's always the howler: "But we cannot eliminate the need for extraordinary action in the kind of unforeseen circumstances presented by Sept. 11." Bin Laden was at the top of the FBI's most wanted list the day before 9/11. Islamicist terrorists had previously attacked the same target. The intelligence services reported that al Qaeda was "determined" to attack on U.S. soil. A blue-ribbon commission expressly warned, after more than two eyars of investigation, that terrorists attacks on U.S. soil were not only foreseeable but "likely." This is the sort of transparent deception that persuaded tens of millions of Republicans not only to condone and tolerate mass murder in Iraq but also to jettison their own, paid-in-blood rights. The greater threat to Americans is not from without, but from within.

[/ QUOTE ]

Again I think the current bruhaha and the problems with specifically defining the "War on Terror" (is it a war really and if so how do we know when it ends?) give rise to the perception that as you write:

The greater threat to Americans is not from without, but from within.
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  #10  
Old 12-21-2005, 06:34 PM
Chris Alger Chris Alger is offline
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Default Re: President had legal authority to OK taps

[ QUOTE ]
My understanding is that the NYT bruhaha is about eavesdropping on communications between U.S. citizens and foreign contacts. More info on what you are stating would be appreciated.

[/ QUOTE ]
That's right -- there have been some purely domestic intercepts, but NSA claims they were few and accidental. They weren't authorized by Bush's order. The issue is whether the U.S. can spy on U.S. citizens, presumably protected against domestic spying by the 4th amendment, when they communicate with people outside of this country, or perhaps with non-citizens within this country.

Since there is no reason to believe that "terrorism" can ever be eliminated or defeated, the "war on terror" is a euphemism for "permanent war" and permanent plenary power to the President. In other words, the President's power is not constrained by law but by his sense of what he can get away with. Rank-and-file Republicans and appear to believe that he should be allowed to get away with anything and everything.
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