The Spectacle Blog

The NSA hoo ha

By on 12.20.05 | 7:44AM

Thanks (today) to the WSJ editorial page for finally publishing the facts about the President's legal and constitutional authority to conduct warrantless searches: "The allegation of Presidential law-breaking rests solely on the fact that Mr. Bush authorized wiretaps without first getting the approval of the court established under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. But no Administration then or since has ever conceded that that Act trumped a President's power to make exceptions to FISA if national security required it. FISA established a process by which certain wiretaps in the context of the Cold War could be approved, not a limit on what wiretaps could ever be allowed.

The courts have been explicit on this point, most recently in In Re: Sealed Case, the 2002 opinion by the special panel of appellate judges established to hear FISA appeals. In its per curiam opinion, the court noted that in a previous FISA case (

U.S. v. Truong), a federal "court, as did all the other courts to have decided the issue [our emphasis], held that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information." And further that, "We take for granted that the President does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA could not encroach on the President's constitutional power."

Since the story broke, I've been telling reporters, pundits and concerned Republicans (you know the type... the ones who want to seem reasonable above all else) that they were mistakenly putting the President in a FISA box. Note to Lindsey Graham - have your staff read the Constitution and applicable SCOTUS precedents and give you a briefing before you publicly attack the President.

I'll join the WSJ in thanking President Bush for doing everything the Constitution permits in protecting me and my family from Al Qaeda.

And a pox on the NY Times for making us less safe today than we were a week ago. They should be ashamed of themselves.

Let the leak investigation begin...

Send to Kindle

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article

More Articles From Mark Corallo