Wednesday, February 15, 2006

DeWine To Propose Legislation Authorizing Warrantless Surveillance

Senate intelligence committee member Mike DeWine (R-OH) tells the Washington Post in today's issue that he is drafting legislation that would "specifically authorize" warrantless surveillance by excluding it from the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

By doing so, the executive branch would no longer be violating FISA, which says that the National Security Agency must obtain a warrant before conducting surveillance.

Under DeWine's plan, the executive branch would regularly brief a small, bipartisan panel drawn from the House and Senate intelligence committees. The surveillance program would require congressional reauthorization after five years to remain in place.

It's almost comical, if you think about it. You have Attorney General Alberto Gonzales saying that President Bush has "inherent authority" to conduct warrantless surveillance. If you believe Gonzales, no legislation is necessary.

Yet, DeWine's legislation would be the third time such legislation has been considered since 2003.

If legislation is necessary to make warrantless surveillance legal, then by default, doesn't that mean that warrantless surveillance is currently illegal? Or can the Republican Party have it both ways -- with the Bush Administration offering various arguments for why they aren't breaking the law, while Congressional Republicans pass legislation to make sure?

14 Comments:

Blogger thewaronterrible said...

Of course it is illegal.
The Republicans want to quickly brush this issue under the rug with legislation to quell further questions over Bush breaking the law and the talk of impeachment.

9:40 AM  
Anonymous atreides1 said...

So if warrantless surveillance is made legal, why not just do away with the 4th Amendment? That's basically what DeWine is trying to do.

10:55 AM  
Anonymous sasquatch said...

DeWine is in deepshit in Ohio, this is a sign

Remember, Karl Rove said he'll "blacklist" any republican that goes against the White House on this issue. I guess DeWine needs all the help he can get now.

10:55 AM  
Anonymous rob of wilmington, del. said...

The GOP can't explain why they need legislation, and simultaneously argue that warrantless surveillance is legal? Will the media notice?

11:03 AM  
Anonymous thereismore said...

So....Mr DeWine, the admin IS violating FISA? I thought there was inherent power, yea, duty even, for the Resident to spy on us. Which is it?

11:04 AM  
Anonymous rob of wilmington, del. said...

he can't say

And unless anyone asks, the American people won't ever find out.

11:05 AM  
Anonymous acmejack said...

And he spoke so eloquently at the hearing. But that was last week. He has quite obviously changed his mind.

11:05 AM  
Anonymous VP said...

I sent Senator DeWine this FAX: Dear Senator DeWine, It's my understanding, (according to a WAPO article) that you intend to introduce legislation to specifically authorize warrantless surveillance by excluding it from the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. I find that somewhat confusing, perhaps you can help me better understand this issue. According to the White House and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, President Bush has “inherent authority” to conduct warrantless surveillance. If that's true, then WHY is this legislation necessary ? If not true, am I correct in thinking that you legislation suggests that President Bush is violating the law with his warrantless surveillance? I would really appreciate a response. Thank You for your help!
Sincerely;
XXXXXX I hope he responds, it ought to be funny.

9:51 AM  
Anonymous ken grandlund said...

All your arguments against this nonsense are completely valid. They contradict themselves and don’t even seem to know it.

But even if this were to pass through and become law, it would not negate the previous illegal wiretaps by Bush, so those acts would still be prosecutable, no?

1:25 PM  
Anonymous icoman said...

The article I read suggest that this is exactly what they are trying to do. By changing the FISA law it will let Bush off the hook by effectively saying that there wasn’t any law to violate. The article also said that Cheney called a sessioo of all Repugs and explained why they have to ram this change through. Of course, the Congress Dems will sit there trimming their fingernails while anybody with any sense will be gasping in awe as the Constitution gets trashed again and all the blog Repugs will be laughing like crazy.

I hear it’s summer in New Zealand now. Maybe I’ll head down there before the world runs roughshod across the N. American continent.

1:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I may be wrong about this, but I don't think so......Since when can Congress pass bills that are in direct conflict with our Constitution and its Bill of Rights? Wouldn't an action like this from both the executive branch and the legislative branch of government still be considered unconstitutional?

2:35 PM  
Blogger Lucy said...

This is why the enlightened of SW Ohio (where Mike's from) call him Mike DeWeinnie

5:00 PM  
Blogger Constant said...

Jabbs,

You got that right: If the legislation would make it legal, what they the NSA is doing is illegal.

I'm not clear why Congress isn't looking into this -- other than the fact that they are lazy, and have no interest in doing their jobs.

So, in the meantime -- until Congress decides they want to assert the rule of law, not non-sense -- there's an effort underway to force the House to face this issue, even if they don't want to. It involves a state proclamation. There's a way to compel Congress to investigate, even if they refuse: [ Click ]

Only one state has to do it, and there's progress being made. This will force the House to commit either way -- are they for or against the rule of law -- and then the voters will have nine [9] months to digest what is going on.

Please consider sharing the Kos-link with your friends and encourage them to spread the news: there's a way to get Congress to face this issue, and not sweep it under the rug: State proclamation calling for impeachment/investigation.

Don't lose hope -- stay determined!

5:55 PM  
Anonymous trinity said...

David R. Mark said...
"It's almost comical, if you think about it. You have Attorney General Alberto Gonzales saying that President Bush has "inherent authority" to conduct warrantless surveillance. If you believe Gonzales, no legislation is necessary."


I agree. It is almost comical. The President does have inherent authority to do what it takes to prevent another terrorist attack, and it's true also that no legislation is necessary, precisely because of that fact.

Under the Constitution, these sorts of national security calls should be made by the President. Yet, you have those in Congress and elsewhere who either are not aware that this is the case, or in some cases who simply refuse to accept that it is the case.

OR, to be fair, to the extent that there might be some sincere confusion about the issue, ongoing debate in all forums should be encouraged, if for no other reason than to educate the citizenry on Constitutional matters.

I'll repeat what I said elsewhere though. If FISA limits the authority given to the Commander-in-Chief by the Constitution, then FISA itself, is unconstitutional. This issue has never come before the SCOTUS.

It's important to understand, however, that FISA does NOT regulate the use of electronic surveillance outside of the United States. For example, electronic surveillance of communications such as e-mail only falls under FISA if the surveillance device is installed "in the United States."

And that is key to this debate, because when e-mails and other communications sent by a U.S. person to a foreigner in some other country are intercepted outside the United States, those intercepts are NOT regulated by FISA. It really should not be that difficult for people to understand this.

2:46 PM  

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