Judge Bars Warrantless Anti-Terrorism Surveillance

By | August 17, 2006

Judge Bars Warrantless Anti-Terrorism Surveillance

A federal judge ordered the U.S. government to stop wiretapping international telephone calls between suspected terrorists and their U.S.-based affiliates without court warrants.

U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor said President George W. Bush exceeded his legal and constitutional authority in ordering the surveillance program that began after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. … Taylor said the surveillance program violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee against unreasonable searches as well as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

By failing to seek court permission to conduct the surveillance, Diggs said, Bush violated the Constitution’s separation of powers doctrine that provide for the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government to acts as checks on each other.

“It was never the intent of the framers to give the president such unfettered control, particularly where his actions blatantly disregard the parameters clearly enumerated in the Bill of Rights,” she wrote in the 43-page opinion.” – bloom

“The government argued that the program is well within the president’s authority, but said proving that would require revealing state secrets.”

President Nixon, another republican, was impeached in the Watergate scandal for illegal spying. He tried to hide behind the “national security secrecy” argument when he was actually spying on his political opponents. Nixon asked “the CIA to slow the FBI’s investigation … claiming that national security would be put at risk.”

Related: The NSA says it is too secret to be sued. (Also known as “Above the Law“.)

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