The problem with what Cong. Barr is saying is that, under the Constitution, FISA, and the courts’ consideration of the president’s power to conduct warrantless searches, the NSA terrorist surveillance program is legal. As I said in my column a couple of weeks ago, the legal authority for the president to order warrantless searches of this kind is clear. Were there instances where it was exceeded? We don’t know, and neither does Mr. Barr.
The question to Mr. Barr is, do you want to stop this program? If you believe it is illegal, you must want the illegal conduct stopped forthwith. And if it is stopped, what do we do to conduct intelligence gathering on those in the U.S. who are talking to al Qaeda and other terrorist groups abroad?