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Monday, January 30, 2006

Hearings For Politics Sake

In light of pending Senate hearings on the issue, here is a well-set out explanation by John Hinderacker at Powerline regarding the legal questions surrounding the NSA intercepts. As a lawyer myself, but not a Constitutional specialist, I can say with certitude that an analysis of the legal questions being raised require more than a passing acquaintance with American Constitutional jurisprudence. And it is abundantly clear that the weight of authority (daresay, the only precedent) supports the President. The fact of the matter is that a president can order surveillance of, for example, al Qaeda operatives abroad contacting their agents in the United States. Equally clear is that a president need not obtain a warrant to order that surveillance. More importantly, this sort of surveillance took place prior to the creation of FISA and it was clearly considered a constitutional use of the president's authority. Therefore, irrespective of what FISA says or doesn't say, it cannot take away or diminish a president's constitutional authority. And that's the point. There is no credible argument that this type of surveillance and intelligence gathering is illegal...unless of course you ignore every case that has spoken on the issue.

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