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Master of the Estate
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Dems: Hear No Evil
John Schmidt, who served as an assistant attorney general during the Clinton administration, weighs in with a Chicago Tribune op-ed on the wiretapping kerfuffle:

President Bush's post- Sept. 11, 2001, authorization to the National Security Agency to carry out electronic surveillance into private phone calls and e-mails is consistent with court decisions and with the positions of the Justice Department under prior presidents. . . .

In the Supreme Court's 1972 Keith decision holding that the president does not have inherent authority to order wiretapping without warrants to combat domestic threats, the court said explicitly that it was not questioning the president's authority to take such action in response to threats from abroad.

Four federal courts of appeal subsequently faced the issue squarely and held that the president has inherent authority to authorize wiretapping for foreign intelligence purposes without judicial warrant.

In the most recent judicial statement on the issue, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, composed of three federal appellate court judges, said in 2002 that "All the . . . courts to have decided the issue held that the president did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence . . . We take for granted that the president does have that authority."​
The New York Times reports on one of those cases:

A Federal appeals court has ruled that the National Security Agency may lawfully intercept messages between United States citizens and people overseas, even if there is no cause to believe the Americans are foreign agents, and then provide summaries of these messages to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.​

This article appeared Nov. 7, 1982, and is reprinted by Newsbusters.org. But last week the Times was shocked, shocked to learn that the NSA was spying on al Qaeda. The Drudge Report notes that both President Carter and President Clinton signed executive orders providing for warrantless searches.

This is looking increasingly like another effort by hostile journalists to gin up a fake scandal and discredit the administration. And once again, Democrats are falling for it. From the Associated Press:

Domestic spying authorized by the White House "doesn't uphold our Constitution" and President Bush offered a "lame" defense in recent public appearances, Sen. John Kerry[*] said Tuesday.

The [haughty, French-looking] Massachusetts Democrat, who [by the way served in Vietnam and] lost to Bush in the 2004 presidential election, also said the alleged White House leak of a CIA agent's identity was more serious than the media's disclosure of the spying program.​
This is proof, as if any were needed, that Kerry is not serious. Remember that in January 2004, Kerry described the war against terror as "primarily an intelligence and law-enforcement operation" rather than a military one. If he is to be believed--admittedly, a big "if"--a President Kerry would have been more concerned with terrorists' "rights" than with gathering intelligence to prevent terror attacks.

Some Democrats, less hinged than Kerry, are even using the I-word, presumably in part because they're still sore over Bill Clinton's impeachment. Almost every Democrat opposed Clinton's impeachment, which we guess tells us something about their view of proper presidential conduct: Self-serving lies under oath are no big deal, but protecting Americans from terrorist attacks is unforgivable.

www.opinionjournal.com
 
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