FISA Warrants

by Sal on January 10, 2006

in Politics

The argument has been made regarding the NSA wiretaps that warrants were easy to obtain, so there is no reason to avoid a warrant. However, the FISA law states otherwise. Rush Limbaugh has posted the requirements for obtaining a warrant from the FISA statute. If you go down the list, the paperwork is somewhat involved. In today’s war on terror, the NSA needs the ability to quickly tap into a call made to or from known terrorists operating internationally. If Osama bin Laden or one of his top lieutenants calls someone in the U.S., don’t you want that call monitored? If the requirements of the FISA act are carried out, lives may be lost in not responding to a terrorist attack.

The argument above represents the practical argument for the current NSA program. However, the legal question still remains. We are a nation of laws, and even the president is not above the law. Mark Levin (a.k.a. The Great One, a.k.a. F. Lee Levin) summed up the issue nicely in a posting on December 26 on the National Review Online’s The Corner as follows:

Since December 16, when the New York Times published the first NSA story, the big media have largely ignored the actions of past presidents in extending warrantless searches via executive orders; a Supreme Court and four circuit court decisions recognizing the president’s inherent constitutional authority as commander-in-chief to order the intercepts; a FISA Court of Review decision acknowledging presidential authority; and the Constitution itself in trying to portray the Bush administration’s NSA program as unlawful.

Article II of the Constitution gives the President broad powers in war time. One of those powers is the ability to declare Martial Law, which would give the President much broader powers than he is currently exercising. Congress has declared a state of war twice this decade. The President now has the authority to act on that state of war to protect and defend this country.

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