What might become NSA-Gate seems to’ve gotten people’s attention. IMO, too much of the issue has become wrapped up in purely partisan considerations. W and his defenders point out that there was enabling statutes on the books; that other POTUSes (including Donkeys) have used that statute; and that certain members of Congress were in the loop.
One conservative pundit/lawyer let slip another argument that underpins both their statutory and constitutional case.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) could be viewed as legislation that enables the Commander in Chief to conduct reasonable searches and seizures, under certain conditions. These conditions are reviewed ex post by FISA courts as to their “reasonableness.”
We the people can’t know whether any of this is reasonable or unreasonable, given that the facts are cloaked by national security. However, there does seem to be a plausible defense here for W.
The existence of FISA seems to be the root of the matter. Were it up to me, I’d seriously consider ending this Constitutional end run. Even if Compound W has used the law with strict integrity, the notion of warrantless searches of American citizens is too high a price to pay. Can we not imagine that future presidents won’t be as scrupulous as W claims to’ve been?