January 15, 2009
Exploding Head Alert: Orin Kerr Proved Right
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.
The court decision is expected to be disclosed as early as Thursday in an unclassified, redacted form. It was made in December by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, which has issued only two prior rulings in its 30-year history.
The decision marks the first time since the disclosure of the National Security Agency’s warrantless eavesdropping program three years ago that an appellate court has addressed the constitutionality of the federal government’s wiretapping powers. In validating the government’s wide authority to collect foreign intelligence, it may offer legal credence to the Bush administration’s repeated assertions that the president has constitutional authority to act without specific court approval in ordering national security eavesdropping.
In the Times' estimation, the outing of a single "covert" agent is a dangerous national security breach requiring a special prosecutor; even when the charging statute is one the Times itself held to be unconstitutional when it was passed. The outing of entire classified anti-terror programs, on the other hand, is not only safe, but serves the public good!
"How can this be?", you may be asking yourself. The answer is simple. Bill Keller is a Very Smart Man - so smart that he can be trusted to make major national security decisions without any oversight. He has formulated the Theory of the Unitary Editor, which goes something like this. On the first day of the Constitutional Convention, the Founding Fathers created the New York Times. And they looked upon their creation, and they saw that it was good. And they clearly intended for it to have a tremendous amount of power for, as our Democrat brethren-in-Christ are always reminding us, Thomas Jefferson said it would be better to have a press and no government, didn't he? So on the second day the Framers, via the First Amendment, explicitly created a Fourth Branch of government which operates completely independently of the other three branches. Furthermore, unlike the other three branches, this fourth branch was to be able to violate laws passed by our elected representatives at any time with impunity, since the First Amendment would operate as a virtual trump or "get out of jail free" card.
Now this may alarm some of you somewhat, but you should not worry. We the Little People should simply trust that the Times would never abuse this tremendous power, because although the press are not subject to any external oversight or checks and balances, the Founders did provide for an entirely sufficient internal oversight system in the form of Executive Editors. This is where the Theory of the Unitary Editor comes in.
According to the Theory of the Unitary Editor, whenever a Times reporter is given unauthorized classified information, Bill Keller's editorial conscience allows him to unilaterally declassify national secrets, bypass Congress, and violate the law in the interest of keeping the nation safe from a popularly elected President who he fears may be unilaterally declassifying national secrets, bypassing Congress, and breaking the law.
Conveeeeenient, no es verdad? It is good to be King.
Bonus observation: Orin Kerr proved hilariously right in comments section of NYT article. If there is anything more delicious than watching a passel of Manhattan libs suddenly morph into staunch strict constructionists, I'm not sure what that might be.
The word for the day, boys and girls, is "unreasonable". As in "unreasonable search and seizure".
Posted by Cassandra at January 15, 2009 10:45 AM
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> The decision marks the first time since the disclosure of the National Security Agency’s warrantless eavesdropping program three years ago that an appellate court has addressed the constitutionality of the federal government’s wiretapping powers.
Prior to 9/11 there was serious doubt about the need based on the available information to the public, but, with four planes down and thousands dead, I think we can grasp that there might be a need. The hypocrisy, or the stupidity (it's hard to discern which it is), of these idiots/charlatans is just amazing.
Posted by: Obloodyhell at January 15, 2009 10:23 PM
As far as the longevity:
It was illegal for us to tap telephones. I seem to remember we did it anyway.
- U.S. Representative Don Edwards, CA, a former FBI Agent under J. Edgar Hoover -
And that's domestic.
Posted by: Obloodyhell at January 15, 2009 10:25 PM