Wednesday, December 28, 2005

NSA Wiretapping

Here is a great summary of the issue from the Times on Tuesday. Rivkin and Casey believe, as I do, that the President's actions are lawful and vested in the chief executive by Article II:

The president has the constitutional authority to acquire foreign intelligence without a warrant or any other type of judicial blessing. The courts have acknowledged this authority, and numerous administrations, both Republican and Democrat, have espoused the same view. The purpose here is not to detect crime, or to build criminal prosecutions - areas where the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirements are applicable - but to identify and prevent armed attacks on American interests at home and abroad. The attempt, by Democrats and Republicans alike, to dismantle the president's core constitutional power in wartime is wrongheaded and should be vigorously resisted by the administration.

As previously indicated, my primary concerns are not based on the legality of the actions but rather rest upon my typical instincts of lunatic-fringed paranoia. In recognizing that the executive branch may unilaterally exercise such power (without any front-end oversight), we must simultaneously surrender ourselves to the blind faith belief in "benevolent governance" and executive self-restraint. To date, the precise scope of the executive's authority to conduct "unauthorized" domestic surveillance has been, at best, unclear. And so, we are currently witnessing the creation of a fairly broad precedent that I am certain will, in that grand government tradition, only expand over time. To be sure, as that time marches onward, we will confront a situation in which our liberties will be subject to arbitrary whims and the undefined temperance of some imperial President. Frightening.
Article tip from Tom Smith.