Bush administration warrantless wiretapping

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The Bush administration's false FISA defense was exposed on January 24, 2006, by blogger Glenn Greenwald who had been pursuing the story about President George W. Bush's domestic spying:

"In June, 2002," Greenwald wrote, "Republican Sen. Michael DeWine of Ohio introduced legislation (S. 2659) which would have eliminated ... the 'probable cause' barrier (at least for non-U.S. persons) which the Administration is now pointing to as the reason why it had to circumvent FISA."

Knight Ridder Newspapers' Jonathan S. Landay picked up the story the next day, January 25, 2006:

"President Bush, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and other top officials now argue that warrantless eavesdropping is necessary in part because complying with the FISA law is too burdensome and impedes the government's ability to rapidly track communications between suspected terrorists.
"In its 2002 statement, the Justice Department said it opposed a legislative proposal to change FISA to make it easier to obtain warrants that would allow the super-secret National Security Agency to listen in on communications involving non-U.S. citizens inside the United States.
"Today, senior U.S. officials complain that FISA prevents them from doing that."

Dan Eggen wrote in the January 26, 2006, Washington Post:

"The Bush administration rejected a 2002 Senate proposal that would have made it easier for FBI agents to obtain surveillance warrants in terrorism cases, concluding that the system was working well and that it would likely be unconstitutional to lower the legal standard."

And the Los Angeles Times' David G. Savage wrote on January 26, 2006:

"Four years ago, top Bush administration lawyers told Congress they opposed lowering the legal standard for intercepting the phone calls of foreigners who were in the United States, even while the administration had secretly adopted a lower standard on its own.
"The government's public position then was the mirror opposite of its rationale today in defending its warrantless domestic spying program, which has come under attack as a violation of civil liberties."



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