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Thursday, December 29, 2005

NSA Intercepts: The Keystone Question

I'm taking a quick break from evaluating more mundane legal questions to make a point that just crossed my mind. For those who want to understand why the electronic monitoring ("wiretap" is an anachronistic description in this instance) of certain conversations without a warrant is not illegal, know this: There is absolutely no question whatsoever...WHATSOEVER...that if Osama bin Laden was making a phone call to someone in New York City, the President would have the authority (certainly under the AUMF ("Authorization for Use of Military Force") as well as most likely under the Executive branch's inherent authority) to listen to his phone conversation without the benefit of a warrant. Therefore, the argument goes, it makes no difference whether the communication originates from a cave in Pakistan or ends in that cave, so long as it is a communication with our wartime enemies. OK. Take it from there.

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