Case Closed

By GotDesign
Evidence has been brought to light (thanks, Drudge) that all of the hubbub over the Presidential "wiretap" order is merely vile partisan politics. Drudge has unearthed two executive orders -- one signed by President Jimmy Carter and another by President Bill Clinton -- that have authorized similar activities by the NSA and FBI.

On May 23, 1979, then-President Jimmy Carter signed an executive order (EO# 12139) stating that:
the Attorney General is authorized to approve electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information without a court order, but only if the Attorney General makes the certifications required by that Section.
This is essentially the same action that President Bush has taken. the only difference I can see is that President Bush has required that the need for the surveillance be reviewed every 45 days to ensure that civil liberties are not infringed upon. President Carter's order does not so stipulate.

On February 9, 1995, President Bill Clinton signed Executive Order # 12949 that authorizes physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes:
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including sections 302 and 303 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 ("Act") (50 U.S.C. 1801, et seq.), as amended by Public Law 103- 359, and in order to provide for the authorization of physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes as set forth in the Act, it is hereby ordered as follows....
EO 12949 provides such authorization for "periods of up to one year," which is even more intrusive than either Carter's or Bush's surveillance authorizations.

One other point should be made. President Bush's authorization limits surveillance to "people with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations." The other aforementioned executive orders made no such limitations. So, if anything, President Bush has taken greater steps to protect civil liberties than previous administrations.

One key thread that runs through all of these authorizations is that they stipulate that the purpose for such authorizations is the collection of foreign intelligence. Foreign intelligence means information which points to threats to the sovereignty and security of the United States from foreign powers. These "foreign powers" are no longer as nicely defined as they used to be. In the past we looked to threats from other nations. Now, we must look not only to nations but also to non-national actors such as terrorist organizations. Terrorists work without concern to geographic origin. Therefore, greater efforts much be taken to gather information and form intelligence about these organizations. And guess what? They are currently operating within the United States.

Now, let's see if we actually hear anything about these other authorizations from the MSM. I kinda doubt it.

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