TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Public Wants Court to Okay Wiretaps

Re: Public Wants Court to Okay Wiretaps

Phil Earnhardt (
11 Jan 2006 12:27:28 -0800

On 11 Jan 2006 09:34:34 -0800, wrote:

>> On 10 Jan 2006 07:43:29 -0800, wrote:

>>> Bad behavior is bad behavior.

>> A conjecture is a conjecture.

> Not a conjecture. A statement. I don't believe in situational
> ethics. Wiretapping without a search warrant is wrong.

That is a conjecture. "Bad" and "wrong" are the tell-tales.

Have you tested your beliefs? In the writings I've read about these
wiretaps, warrants are often problematic. Did you read the pieces that
I provided URLs to? Do you have any specific comments about those

>>> It should be condemned because its WRONG!

>> Actually, it should be condemned IF it is wrong. AFAICT, this is more
>> of a balance of power issue than a question of legality.

> There was a court set up to issue warrants.

There were courts set up by the Carter Administration to deal with
very specific conditions of the Cold War. And the Carter
Administration was very clear -- FISA did not supersede ANY executive
powers to defend against foreign enemies that are specified in the

> That court was bypassed.

"Bypassed" implies that the constitutional powers of the executive
were somehow subjugated by FISA. That is pure conjecture. No court --
especially the supremes -- has ever rendered such an opinion.

> To me that is not a balance of power issue, but a legal issue.

Interesting. Do you acknowledge that the Executive is indeed given
broad powers to protect the United States of America from foreign

> The constitution guarantees certain rights. By not going to the
> court to get the search warrant then the Executive Branch bypassed
> the Constitution that they have sworn to uphold.

But FISA is not part of the Constitution!

>> Is there any reason that there's almost no public debate about this issue?

> The public is being fed garbage from most news sources.

Agreed. And, with all due respect, the information you present here is
somewhat misleading. Someone reading your posting would presume that
FISA is the only way that the president is legally -- constitutionally
-- allowed to use these wiretaps to protect our country. That was
never the intent of FISA -- as was explicitly explained at the time by
Carter's AG.

The Wall Street Journal is the only national newspaper I know of in
the country who is publicly discussing such issues.

> There are doctors who are willing to testify in court that smoking
> will not cause cancer. Now the public has to decide if these
> doctors lie, or if the other side lies, or if the truth lies
> someplace in the middle. But the technical detail is so difficult
> for a layman to understand that they give up, and just let those in
> the know handle it.

Agreed. Did you follow the Silicosis cases in the legal system last
year? Again, the WSJ was the only American national who gave any
substantial coverage to these dubious class-action lawsuits.

>> Instead of creating "news" -- contracting for self-serving polls that
>> are providing essentially zero information -- why can't the Katherine
>> Shraders of the world write some articles about the Executive's
>> constitutional role in protecting us from foreign enemies?

> This is a good suggestion. Most polls are commisioned by someone, and
> are designed to return the answer that was wanted, rather than to
> gather information. A good study on what the Executive Branch can and
> can not do in protecting us from foreign and domestic enemies is
> important.

Hear, hear! Aren't we supposed to be in the information age?


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