Thursday, December 29, 2005
THE NSA AND THE 4TH
There has been a lot of hoopla recently in the media about President Bush's admission that he authorized warantless wiretaps on certain people who live in the United States, perhaps even citizens. The NSA did not go throgh the normal FISA court to get a warrant to authorize those wiretaps. Many believe that Bush ated illegally and should be impeached. It would be something if these cries came from those who suffer from Bush Derangement SYndrome. However, these have also come from conservatives and others who support the war or supported the President on the War on Terror.
Search warrants are vital to keeping the security of the people in their persons and homes and businesses. It prevents the government from arbitrarily snooping into your life. However, given the power that a search warrant gives, the burden of proof should be reasonably high before a court grants a warrant. After all, this allows the police or government to legally come into your place whether you like it or not to search for illegal activity. And they can't just search anywhere and everywhere on your property. It has to be specific. In doing so, this seems to balance the interest of the government in curbing criminal behavior and the privacy of the people in their homes and possessions. It's obvious this is the intention of the 4th Amendment, so those who say the President is acting illegally may have a point.
However, like the Lew Rockwell writer I took issue with below in a previous article over habeus corpus, I really do wonder is some of the President's critics have actually read the 4th Amendment because there is one key word that everyone seems to overlook. Any guesses what it is? It's an important modifier gramatically because, contrary to popular opinion, the Amendment does not prohibit all warantless searches and seizures.
The key word is, "unreasonable" as is: "The right of the people to be secure...against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated." This is why the police can break into a house if they see a robber fleeing into it. They do not have to wait for a warrant to do a search. Furthermore, this also explains why contraband "in plain view" is not subject to a warrant.
So, now we come to the wiretaps the President authorized. THis really isn't a difficult issue to resolve. All one has to ask if it is reasonable for the government to wiretap calls incoming or outgoing from the United States overseas from people who have known terrorist or Al-Qaeda ties. Is this reasonable when the need for wiretapping may be immediate, and the 72 hour delay in obtaining a FISA warrant may cause the loss of information? Remember, this is a different court that the federal district courts. Warrants in those cases, where an FBI agent goes to a federal judge to get a warrant, can be instantaneous and even made over the phone. This happens in state courts all the time. However, the FISA court is an Article 3 creation by COngress with its own rules and regulations. It doesn;t sound like warrants can be obtained instantaneously. However, even if this were the case, would it still be unreasonable to wiretap people with known terrorist connections.
For thos who argue that Bush broke the law, then you have to argue and defend why this is an unreasonable proposition. Note the issue: "people with KNOWN terrorist ties." Arbitrary wiretaps and arbitrary wiretaps against arbitrary people are not in this proposition. (Of course, I am assuming that these warrants have *only* been used against those with terrorist ties. If these are aritrary, the the US government needs to fined and the President impeached and his staff indicted. For the sake of argument, I am assuming the former). If you can make the case that this is an unreasonable proposition, then there indeed is a 4th Amendment violation. However, I don't think you can make that argument. If you can't, then I think Bush's position must prevail.
Friday, December 16, 2005
SENATOR KERRY WAS RIGHT
Just look at these US troops terrorizing this Iraqi family.
(Hat tip: Little Green Footballs)
Saturday, December 03, 2005
BYE, BYE, GIRL
1995-December 3, 2005
Bye Girl. I'll always miss your company. I thank God for the pleasure of having you these years.