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Tuesday, March 21

4th Under Attack

Hat tip to Shalome of Suicide Girls, see, the younger generation IS paying attention

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. (Like the college student's computer, citizen's cameras, items from luggage as we ATTEMPT to move freely about our country - shall I continue?)

The DoJ has decided to throw that right out the window. In a little-publicized paper submitted to Congress defending warrantless spying on United States citizens, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has made the claim that the President can break the 4th Amendment at will by ordering secret warrantless physical searches.

In order to fulfill his duties as commander in chief, the 42-page white paper says, "a consistent understanding has developed that the president has inherent constitutional authority to conduct warrantless searches and surveillance within the United States for foreign intelligence purposes." The memo cites congressional testimony of Jamie Gorelick, a former deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration, in 1994 stating that the Justice Department "believes, and the case law supports, that the president has inherent authority to conduct warrantless physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes." John Martin, a former Justice Department attorney who prosecuted the two most important cases involving warrantless searches and surveillance, says the department is sending an unambiguous message to Congress. "They couldn't make it clearer," says Martin, "that they are also making the case for inherent presidential power to conduct warrantless physical searches." (Read, expanded, uncontrolled, unmonitored executive powers, aka Kingship)

The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation quite rightly strongly opposes using his agents for secret warrantless "black bag jobs." (And may I add that the 4th duty of the FBI is to investigate our own Government aka = Combat public corruption at all levels, one has to wonder why they are distancing themselves from this. Are THEY also being spied upon?)

FBI Director Robert Mueller was alarmed by the proposal, the two officials said, and pushed back hard against it. "Mueller was personally very concerned," one official says, "not only because of the blowback issue but also because of the legal and constitutional questions raised by warrantless physical searches."

If evidence gathered during a warrantless physical search of a location was entered into a court case against a suspect, the entire case could be thrown out. But hey, that's why we have those secret military tribunals now, right? And if that fails there is always Gitmo.

NOW FOR THE REST OF OUR HISTORY LESSON: Nixon and the FBI/CIA so badly abused the executive powers that the FISA was created that limited only wiretapping and not physical searches. Fast forward to 1994, the congressional testimony of Jamie Gorelick caused the Republican congress to throw a fit because the Clinton administration had done physical searches without contacting the FISA court. Clinton worked with the congress and urged them to update the FISA to include physical searches. The law was signed by Clinton without protest of any kind. Despite what they say, it is now expressly illegal to wiretap or physically search without getting FISA court approval.

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