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Wiretapping Program Ruled Legal 575

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the can-we-rule-the-ruling-illegal dept.
BuhDuh writes "The New York Times is carrying a story concerning that well known bastion of legal authority, the 'Foreign Intelligence Surveillance' court, which has ruled that the National Security Agency's warrantless eavesdropping program was perfectly legal. It says, 'A federal intelligence court, in a rare public opinion, is expected to issue a major ruling validating the power of the president and Congress to wiretap international phone calls and intercept e-mail messages without a court order, even when Americans' private communications may be involved, according to a person with knowledge of the opinion.'"
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Wiretapping Program Ruled Legal

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  • Cairo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday January 15, 2009 @12:13PM (#26468301) Journal
    You should ask the people in Cairo where they think we're heading. Egypt's a "democratic" country terrorizing its people under the guise of a "war on terror." Really, you just need to intercept communications of those people who oppose you in any form or fashion and simply provide even the slightest proof that they belong to The Muslim Brotherhood. The screams in the night are nothing to concern you, comrade, you haven't done anything wrong so why should you be worried?

    I don't think anything really bad is being done against the American people at this moment. I do think that boundaries are being crossed whereby if the wrong person gets into power, there is no going back. Just ask yourself: What Would Nixon Do?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by rubycodez (864176)

      you are aware that U.S. citizens are being held at Guantanamo?

      • Re:Cairo (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Shakrai (717556) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @12:17PM (#26468427) Journal

        you are aware that U.S. citizens are being held at Guantanamo?

        Citation?

        • Re:Cairo (Score:5, Informative)

          by sbayless (1310131) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @12:54PM (#26469309)

          you are aware that U.S. citizens are being held at Guantanamo?

          No, but there is a Canadian http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omar_Khadr [wikipedia.org], who was 15 years old at the time of the alleged crimes.

        • Re:Cairo (Score:5, Informative)

          by dwarg (1352059) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @01:40PM (#26470385)

          Yaser Esam Hamdi [wikipedia.org] - American Citizen, Enemy Combatant. The Supreme Court denied the executive request to hold him indefinitely without trial. He was handed over to Saudi Arabia after being stripped of citizenship.

          John Walker Lindh [wikipedia.org] - American Citizen, Enemy Combatant. Entered a guilty plea on 2 of his 10 charges; carrying weapons and serving in the Taliban army. Currently serving 20 years in an American prison.

          The most disturbing case, however, is that of Jose Padilla [wikipedia.org], who was never held in Guantanamo, to our knowledge, but is an American citizen arrested in the United States and declared an enemy combatant. He very likely was an "evil doer(TM)" but the way his case was handled was disturbing to say the least.

          When your government has the right to listen in on your communications, interpret them as they see fit, and make you disappear without justifying the cause to anyone but themselves you've set up a powerful system for abuse. If not by those that set it up, by someone that takes the reigns of power down the road.

          • Re:Cairo (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Shakrai (717556) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @01:57PM (#26470779) Journal

            He was handed over to Saudi Arabia after being stripped of citizenship.

            You mean, "after agreeing to renounce his citizenship", right? You also left out the part where he was released from Gitmo and brought to the United States once his citizenship status was discovered.

            John Walker Lindh [wikipedia.org] - American Citizen, Enemy Combatant. Entered a guilty plea on 2 of his 10 charges; carrying weapons and serving in the Taliban army. Currently serving 20 years in an American prison.

            Lindh was never held in Gitmo so I'm somewhat baffled as to why you are bringing him up in the context of this discussion. He got his day in court and opted to plead guilty rather than take his chances with the jury. What's the problem here?

            The most disturbing case, however, is that of Jose Padilla [wikipedia.org], who was never held in Guantanamo, to our knowledge, but is an American citizen arrested in the United States and declared an enemy combatant.

            You left out the part where he eventually got his day in court and was convicted by a jury.

            but the way his case was handled was disturbing to say the least

            That much I'll give you. As an American citizen captured on American soil he should have processed through the civilian justice system and accorded the right to a speedy trial. None of this really relates to my original question though. Which American citizens are currently being held in Gitmo?

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by internic (453511)

              "The most disturbing case, however, is that of Jose Padilla [wikipedia.org], who was never held in Guantanamo, to our knowledge, but is an American citizen arrested in the United States and declared an enemy combatant."

              You left out the part where he eventually got his day in court and was convicted by a jury.

              He was held incommunicado without charges for more than three years and put into the civilian justice system at the 11th hour to try to prevent the Supreme Court from ruling on the legality of his det

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              You mean, "after agreeing to renounce his citizenship", right?

              Before or after being tortured?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      This brings to mind something Hermann Goering said during his trial at Nuremburg. He said something along the lines of identify someone different and tell the people that that guy is the enemy and he wants to hurt you. The people will then allow you to do anything as long as you keep them safe.

      Didn't Santayana say something about those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it?

    • Re:Cairo (Score:4, Interesting)

      by digitalunity (19107) <digitalunityNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Thursday January 15, 2009 @12:48PM (#26469153) Homepage

      My biggest issue with this is domestic internet communication is semi-routinely routed through other countries and the eavesdropping program has no way to tell whether the 4th amendment is being violated.

      Basically, the court just gave permission to the NSA to dragnet anything they want without a warrant so long as they can demonstrate there is a possibility that the communication was to or from a foreigner.

    • by Crazy Taco (1083423) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @01:07PM (#26469589)

      Egypt's a "democratic" country terrorizing its people under the guise of a "war on terror."

      That's bull. What hate America, left wing source gave you that information and tried to compare us to Egypt in terms of democracy? This is patently false on it's face. Egypt instantly fails the first test anyone would do when trying to determine see if a country is a democracy. They don't have any free or fair elections. Hosni Mubarak proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt. They have been a mild dictatorship at best for decades, and everyone knows it. Contrast that to the US... if we were a dictatorship under president Bush, as so many on the left wildly claim, then why is he voluntarily leaving power? A dictator doesn't care about term limits. And why is someone he didn't vote for coming to power? Because we still respect the will of the people in this country. We actually are a democracy and don't have hand picked successors.

      Just ask yourself: What Would Nixon Do?

      How about we ask, "What would George Washington do?" Answer: The exact same thing. Ever since this country was founded we have done this same sort of stuff. The early presidents all found spying ok, all engaged in it, and all inspected foreign mail during war. Move forward a little and you'll find that FDR and JFK did the same sorts of warrantless wiretapping we are doing now, and they are Democrat heroes. In fact, Robert Kennedy did more than probably anyone in history. There is a difference between regular criminal mischief and war, and a difference between American citizens protected under the constitution and people from other countries. Most reasonable people recognize this. During wars especially, but even when not at war, the US (and all other nations) have the right to spy on each other without asking for a warrant from the international court. Only our own citizens are protected from illegal search and seizure under the constitution. Foreign enemy terrorists are not. Sorry.

      • by radtea (464814) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @01:40PM (#26470399)

        Foreign enemy terrorists are not.

        The problem, of course, is that who identifies these "foreign enemy terrorists" as such?

        How do you know that I, for example, am not a foreign enemy terrorist? Who gets to make that ruling? The same people who want to do the spying?

        But if all they require is a declaration, then ANYONE can be declared a "foreign enemy terrorist," including natural-born Americans who have been summarily stripped of their citizenship because they have been declared "foreign enemy terrorists". After all, who would stand up for a "foreign enemy terrorist" who is pretending to be an American citizen?

        Bellicose cowards are very quick to declare themselves as having perfect knowledge of who the law applies to, and by implication as having perfect knowledge of which individuals fall into which category. Millennia of history show that when bellicose cowards are put in charge they always declare anyone who disagrees with them about anything a "foreign enemy terrorist" and do everything they can to put them outside the rule of law.

        This is happening again, now, in the United States.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by TheDarkener (198348)
        The early presidents all found spying ok, all engaged in it, and all inspected foreign mail during war. Ok, so does that make it OK? *slap*
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by SirGarlon (845873)

        How about we ask, "What would George Washington do?" Answer: The exact same thing. Ever since this country was founded we have done this same sort of stuff.

        And what hate freedom, right wing source gave you that information? "We" have only had the apparatus to conduct large-scale surveillance since approximately World War II.

      • by cvd6262 (180823) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @03:23PM (#26472565)

        I traveled to Egypt to gather colloquial Arabic footage for some online courses. It was a good time, but the "security" issues and the corruption of the local officials was on par with Subsaharan Africa countries.

        However, there was a great difference in the freedom of speech category. For example, we were filming in a private household and each family member was taking turns telling jokes. (Like "Wahid saiidi fahim wemaat!") Everything went fine until the ten-year-old son started his joke...

        "Al ra-ees Mubarak..." [President Mubarak...]

        At which point his father flew to his feet, commanded us to turn of the camera, and took his son in the other room for a talk.

        Until Americans are afraid to go on camera with a joke about their president, we're nowhere near Egypt.

  • by seanadams.com (463190) * on Thursday January 15, 2009 @12:14PM (#26468335) Homepage

    This right on the heels of a god damned act of treason by
    Supreme Court just yesterday: http://www.freep.com/article/20090115/NEWS07/90115015 [freep.com]

    Seriously, can anyone tell me ANYTHING whatsoever that the 4th amendment does now?

    And just in case anyone out there is still Hoping for Change starting next week: sorry, the New Boss supports this shit too - and he's a "constitutional scholar"!

    Every last one of these sons of bitches should be in jail.

    • by FireStormZ (1315639) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @12:22PM (#26468523)

      "Seriously, can anyone tell me ANYTHING whatsoever that the 4th amendment does now?"

      A communication coming in abroad is no different than a package. The government has *always* had a right to intercept foreign shipments and communications. The 4th applies to American citizens *in* America not aything about people who are not Americans or persons (be they American or not) overseas.

      • by demachina (71715) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @12:40PM (#26468959)

        You leave out the interesting case where the person abroad is a foreign correspondent for an American news agency. Its been established by whistle blowers that journalists have been a particular target of this eavesdropping, along with aid workers. You are in fact trampling freedom of the press if you let the government read and listen to all the emails and phone calls of a journalists without a warrant. It allows the government to immediately identify all of the journalists sources unless the contact is only made face to face which is pretty constraining. It places an immediate chilling effect on an independent press and on anyone telling a journalist anything. This is a big plus for the government and military which would prefer the public not know about all their dirty laundry.

    • by megamerican (1073936) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @12:24PM (#26468555)

      "The question whether the judges are invested with exclusive authority to decide on the constitutionality of a law has been heretofore a subject of consideration with me in the exercise of official duties. Certainly there is not a word in the Constitution which has given that power to them more than to the Executive or Legislative branches."

              --Thomas Jefferson to W. H. Torrance, 1815. ME 14:303

      http://www.landmarkcases.org/marbury/jefferson.html [landmarkcases.org]

      "This member of the Government was at first considered as the most harmless and helpless of all its organs. But it has proved that the power of declaring what the law is, ad libitum, by sapping and mining slyly and without alarm the foundations of the Constitution, can do what open force would not dare to attempt."

      In other words, it isn't very hard for 5 lawyers to screw things up for everyone!

    • by oodaloop (1229816) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @12:25PM (#26468571)

      Every last one of these sons of bitches should be in jail.

      What, without a speedy trial by a jury of their peers? Isn't that unconstitutional?

    • Well, on the bright side, the ruling you cited was 5-4 with the five conservative judges yay and the four liberal judges nay. We can hope with fingers crossed that one of the conservative scumbags retires or dies very soon.

      FISA's ruling is total madness. That's almost like a small-town judge being arrested for peeping in some poor woman's bathroom window and being caught jerking off in the bushes only to find himself innocent after presiding over his own trial! Good ol' state-sponsored voyeurism.
      • by Shakrai (717556) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @12:33PM (#26468779) Journal

        We can hope with fingers crossed that one of the conservative scumbags retires or dies very soon.

        Scumbags really depends on your point of view and the particular case in question. I can think of at least three cases off the top of my head where the so-called liberal justices were the scumbags:

        Gonzales v. Raich [wikipedia.org]: The Federal Government can arrest cancer patients for using cannabis even where such use is legal under State law. The liberals (joined by Scalia and Kennedy) all voted in favor of it. O'Connor, Rehnquist and Thomas opposed it.
        Kelo v. City of New London [wikipedia.org]: The State can seize your private property for the benefit of private (i.e: Wal-Mart) development. The Liberals (joined by Kennedy) didn't have any problems with this. Scalia, O'Connor, Rehnquist and Thomas all dissented.
        District of Columbia v. Heller [wikipedia.org]: The Liberals all dissented in this case, which held that the 2nd amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. Apparently that's too much freedom for them.

        Those are just the ones that I can think of off the top my head. Trust me when I say that the Liberal wing of the court is no better at protecting our rights.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Hatta (162192)

          What are you talking about? There are no liberals on the Supreme Court.

    • by $beirdo (318326)

      Our system of jurisprudence in this country, and therefore any sense of American "freedom" is, frankly, complete bullshit.

      Get used to it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by darkmeridian (119044)

      The exclusionary rule is an artificial judicial construct that is not a constitutional right. Stone v. Powell, 428 U.S. 465 (1976). The Fourth Amendment only guarantees freedom from illegal search and seizure. Introducing illegally-obtained evidence in a criminal case is neither. Excluding illegally-obtained evidence is meant to deter police misconduct but the public pays the cost in freed criminals. If the official misconduct was TRULY not intentional (setting aside your cynicism) then there is no deterren

  • Oh well (Score:3, Funny)

    by pembo13 (770295) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @12:14PM (#26468353) Homepage

    It's not like they don't have what's best for you in mind.

    • by demachina (71715)

      Since they can read your email and listen to your phone calls they also know what is IN your mind.

    • Re:Oh well (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gnick (1211984) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @12:38PM (#26468901) Homepage

      It's not like they don't have what's best for you in mind.

      Actually, in all seriousness, I believe that they do. I think that all the paranoia about them trying to enslave our minds to support some massive corporate/governing elite by censoring our movements, restricting our speech, and stripping our rights away is nonsense. I think that the Intelligence agencies and probably better than half of our governing body is motivated (mainly) by wanting to do what's best for us and keep us safe.

      The problem is that their idea of what's "best for us" may not line up with mine and I'll be damned if I'm going to voluntarily abandon rights because it may-or-may-not make some minimal impact on my safety that would be dwarfed by efforts on the non-terror front. I don't so much question their intentions (although I don't object too loudly when other people do - blind trust is usually a bad idea), I just object to their methods.

  • Okay... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @12:15PM (#26468359)

    Well, in the fine tradition of our founding fathers then, let's assemble publicly, choose representatives from amongst us, and then send them out internationally to work towards encrypting the network and locking it down, taking away the ability of our government to spy on us at the network level. You don't play well with others, and soon you'll have nobody to play with. Simple. Of course... who will bell the cat?

  • The rubberstamp court rubberstamps a government request.
  • Riots? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cHiphead (17854) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @12:15PM (#26468375)

    So what time do the riots and looting start? I'm not off work til 5pm but I gotta pickup the kids and get them home by 6pm, oh and I have to watch an episode of House MD before I can head out. On second thought, I do have to work tomorrow and don't want to be inconvenienced, so lets put them off until its warmer outside as well, maybe next year, or the year after?

    *Goes back to staring at the god box and doing as told.

    cheers.

  • Sweet (Score:3, Interesting)

    by flaming error (1041742) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @12:19PM (#26468479) Journal

    So the FISA court just ruled itself irrelevant?

  • by assemblerex (1275164) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @12:22PM (#26468531)
    go buy more ammo for my soon to be banned guns.
    Jefferson was right
  • by GuloGulo (959533) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @12:24PM (#26468557)

    But I strongly suspected this already. Most people who actually analyzed the situation and the LAW thought it was a strong possibility.

    Unfortunately, every time I attempted to discuss the actual LAW, I (and others) were shouted down (and modded down) by the "WHARGARBLL FUCK BUSH BLAHGHGHG!!" crowd, who'd rather not have their prejudices disproven.

    Things can be legal, and still be intrusive and wrong on a moral level.

    Perhaps in the future, all of you who screamed "Illegal wiretaps!!!!" at the top of your lungs will take the time to listen.

    PS, I think it's shitty too, but that doesn't make it illegal.

    • Seems to me that the optical splitters AT&T put on the network backbone, copying traffic to the NSA -- BY DEFINITION -- captured and forwareded ALL the traffic on the network, therefore also capturing and copying YOUR conversations and emails with YOUR MOM.

      • The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 says:

        1. A warrant is not required to collect intelligence when the target is not a US Person, regardless of where the collection occurs, including within the US.

        2. A warrant is always required to collect intelligence when the target is a US Person, whether inside or outside of the US (more strict than previous law).

        This requires the assistance of telecom operators in the US. In order to determine which traffic can be legally intercepted without a warrant, basic information ab

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by kenp2002 (545495)

          Inalienable

          You cannot take them away, citizen, non-citizen, good guy, bad guy.

          Inalienable.

          Liberty was an inalienable right once... long ago...

          • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Thursday January 15, 2009 @01:07PM (#26469591)

            Intelligence collection on non-US Persons [wikipedia.org] outside of the US has never required a warrant, throughout the entire history of the United States.

            The difference occurred when traffic of non-US Persons outside of the US started traveling through the US. Suddenly a warrant is required because digital traffic passed through a routing center in Chicago when one end is in Pakistan and the other is in Saudi Arabia? That's what the now-sunset Protect America Act temporarily fixed, and the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 permanently fixes.

            If you believe that a warrant should be required for intelligence collection on persons outside of the US with no legal standing of any kind with the US (i.e., citizen, vistor, legal resident, etc.), then you are completely out of step with all law, intelligence policy, and scholarship on the issue.

    • No one actually cares about the truth here, any of the issues at play, nor the legality of any programs. Most make it a huge political issue, and is it any surprise that even the "leakers" have all had a political axe to grind with the Bush administration?

      They just scream "unconstitutional" and rant about Bush, when the very mechanisms set up in our society to render legal opinions on actions of various components of government and to rule on issues of legality or constitutionality have judged certain thing

  • by DragonWriter (970822) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @12:31PM (#26468749)

    This is about the program under the law passed by Congress which authorized warrantless wiretapping after the President was doing it; not the program which was carried out prior to that by the President in direct contravention to the prohibitions of the statute law existing at the time.

    Of course, one might reasonably question whether the decision comports with the Constitution even there, but its an important distinction to make, since there have been issues both with the power of government as a whole and the independent power of the President, regardless of the laws passed by Congress relating to warrantless wiretapping, and the two issues sometimes get muddled.

  • by canajin56 (660655) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @12:32PM (#26468767)
    In other news, the Fox Court has ruled that hen-house raids by foxes are legal. Shocking.
  • Dooooooooom!!

    That's all.

  • by Kymermosst (33885) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @12:35PM (#26468831) Journal

    The tag "bushcrimesyndicate" is inaccurate. For those of you who haven't read the Constitution, Congress is responsible for setting up all Federal courts, including the FISA court (surely nobody believes that Bush created FISA...).

    "politiciancrimesyndicate" is much more accurate.

  • by plasmacutter (901737) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @12:37PM (#26468871)

    They're not the one hearing the class action cases. They're also not the supreme court.

    They can say anything they want, but, while they have authority to issue warrants, they are by no means the final authority on the interpretation of law in regards to the constitution.

    That would be the USSC.

  • . . . for any citizen to conspire, support, or engage in activities whose sole purpose is the violent overthrow of the Constitution?

    • by Col. Klink (retired) (11632) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @01:00PM (#26469435)

      . . . for any citizen to conspire, support, or engage in activities whose sole purpose is the violent overthrow of the Constitution?

      Since December 15, 1791.

      The first amendment allows freedom of expression, even if the idea being expressed is to abolish the existing government.

      The second amendment was not passed to protect the rights of hunters. It was passed so that common citizens could, in the inevitable instance that their government becomes tyrannical, can be overthrown. In 1791, "well-regulated" did not mean that the militia would be "regulated" or licensed by the government (you didn't need a license for anything in 1791). "Well-regulated" meant a militia that could shoot straight.

      These ideas were not outrageous to the founding fathers. They themselves had just violently overthrown their government. While not law, these ideas are expressed clearly in the opening of the Declaration of Independence:

      When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by aquatone282 (905179)

        Then what's this [cornell.edu] for?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by hey! (33014)

          Then what's this [cornell.edu] for?

          Answer: political posturing.

          Treason is almost never charged. In the two hundred and twenty years since the US Constitution went into effect, the grand total of treason indictments: less than 40. Number of convictions: even less. Minimally, history has shown that we can run a country successfully without much use of the charge of "treason"; I'd say we probably could get by without that particular charge at all.

          The framers seem to have been ambivalent about treason. It'

      • by Qrlx (258924) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @01:53PM (#26470715) Homepage Journal

        The common mythology, that the purpose of the Second Amendment is some sort of backstop against an unjust government from taking over, has little historical basis. Like the rest of the Amendments, it was written for a pratcial purpose, not an esoteric one.

        That practial purpose was: It protected the interests of the slave states by explicity granting them the right to use the tools (firearms) necessary to maintain their economic interests (slavery).

        The common mythology, that the Second Amendment is intended to protect from tyrrany, is turned on its head when looked at from the slave's point of view.

        Don't misunderstand me, I'm not suggesting the Founding Fathers would have banned private ownership of guns in the absence of slavery. But the individual's right to bear arms is specifically carved out in the Constitution to protect the interests of the slave states.

        Look at the language of the Second Amendment itself. Ask yourself "What did a militia do 200 years ago?" One of the things they did was put down slave uprisings.

  • by hey! (33014) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @03:08PM (#26472247) Homepage Journal

    As of 2007, the NSA program is perfectly legal, accoring to the court. It does not necessarily mean that the program has always been legal. In fact, it's pretty likely that it violated a number of statues, and that's what's technically important here.

    The powers of the President to wage war and to protect national security are subject to Congressional oversight and regulation. While most people are aware that the Constitution names the President "Commander in Chief", the powers granted to him are significantly less than those of a military dictator, even with respect to the policy and management of the military. For example officer commissions are approved by the senate Although this is largely a pro forma affair. Indeed every aspect of running and employing the military is subject to Congressional regulation.

    This is important because in US Constitutional law, there is no explicit right of personal privacy, and the exact extent of the implicit right of privacy (under the Ninth Amendment) is not perfectly clear. If the Executive Branch is empowered to do something, that means it is up to Congress to see to it that it does not violate the Ninth Amendment.

    It is largely due to Congress's power regulate Executive functions that we have many restrictions on wiretapping at all. While the reach of the Fourth Amendment has been considerably widened by court opinions in the 20th Century (e.g., Katz v. US) for criminal investigation, intelligence investigation inherently requires a violation of the "expectation of privacy", something that Katz says can only be done with a warrant in criminal cases.

    So, if Congress says the President can intercept phone calls for intelligence purposes, it seems probable that this will be treated by the courts as constitutional. If that's not the case, it is Congress that has failed in its duty to safeguard Americans from the Executive Branch.

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