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  • Protect America Act Is Legal ... Duh

    Anyone who has ever entered the United States after traveling abroad knows that the federal government does not always need a warrant to conduct a reasonable search of a person’s belongings.  The federal government has a myriad of interests, including national security, that outweigh a person’s right to privacy at the border (which if you’re flying from Cancun to St.Louis, includes the St. Louis airport). Following that same logic, the government also has an interest in monitoring international communications between persons inside the United States and persons abroad.

    For the left, however, any policy that allows the government to monitor international communications represents the end of the Fourth Amendment as we know it. Well the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review released a declassified opinion yesterday completely validating President Bush’s Protect America Act warrantless wiretapping program. The Washington Post reports:

    A special federal appeals court yesterday released a rare declassified opinion that backed the government’s authority to intercept international phone conversations and e-mails from U.S. soil without a judicial warrant, even those involving Americans, if a significant purpose is to collect foreign intelligence.

    In its opinion, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review ruled that national security interests outweighed the privacy rights of those targeted, affirming what amounts to a constitutional exception for matters involving government interests “of the highest order of magnitude.”

    The architect of the program, outgoing CIA Director Michael Hayden told the Los Angeles Times: “My reaction? Duh.”

    Posted in Legal [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to Protect America Act Is Legal ... Duh

    1. Valerie McCormack says:

      Since when did common sense have to be defended with so much blood and sweat? The older I get , the more Gov. looks like a bunch of children in a sand box fighting for the biggest shovel. Stick to the rules (law), stop making up new ones (duh).

    2. Michael Ejercito, Lo says:

      If the government needs a warrant to monitor international phone calls, then surely it would need a warrant for customs searches.

    3. Spiritof76, New Hamp says:

      Is it legal also to snoop without a court warrant at personal records of an American citizen in America, Joe the Plumber for example for political reasons? The same party that howled about loss of personal liberty and Bush spying on Americans, now says that such a right provides flexibility to Obama. Bunch of hypocrites and law breakers are now the ruling class in Washington.

    4. Steven D. Schwinn, C says:

      The claim that the court "completely validat[ed] President Bush's Protect America Act warrantless wiretapping program" conflates two entirely different programs–the Congressionally authorized PAA and Bush's unilateral warrantless wiretapping program–and distorts the court's plain holding in the case.

      The court merely held that the Congressionally authorized PAA, with its several layers of procedural protections, did not violate the Fourth Amendment. The court carefully said nothing about President Bush's unilateral warrantless wiretapping program: "we caution that our decision does not constitute an endorsement of broad-based, indiscriminate executive power." In fact, the PAA was enacted in part because of constitutional and political concerns about Bush's unilateral executive authority to engage in the kind of secret, warrantless surveillance he ordered on his own, without Congressional authorization. The fact of the PAA itself suggests that there were constitutional problems with Bush's unilateral program.

      This opinion validates the Congressionally authorized PAA, not Bush's unilateral warrantless wiretapping program. More here: http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/conlaw/2009/01/f

    5. Dave McDuffie says:

      You asked for it folks and now you got it. The question is, what are you going to do about it?

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