WASHINGTON — A federal intelligence court, in a rare public opinion, issued a major ruling validating the power of the president and Congress to wiretap international phone calls and intercept e-mail messages without a specific court order, even when Americans’ private communications may be involved.
The court decision, made in August 2008 by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, came in an unclassified, redacted form.
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 the power to act without specific court approval in ordering national security eavesdropping that may involve Americans.
And there you have it, one of the biggest whinges of the left has been that W has burned the Constitution and smoked it's ashes. And here is the very court they were screaming he had subverted making a public ruling that the President was properly exercising his authority. If W had not undertaken these actions it would be fair to argue that he had failed to do his job making us safe from attack.
I always found it ironic that those howling loudest about the abuses of power by the Bush administration enjoyed their right to caterwaul only because America uses the very techniques they called unconstitutional. So here is a big fat piece of vindication for an active aggressive use of intelligence gathering to safeguard the country.