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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Bush's "Need for Speed" Argument Runs Into the Truth

Published on Monday, December 19, 2005 by the Huffington Post 
by David Sirota
 
In his news conference today, President Bush invoked the need for speed in the War on Terror as the reason he is illegally ordering the National Security Agency to conduct domestic surveillance without search warrants. Sounds like a compelling argument, right? In the fast-moving world of information age technology, we can't really afford to make our law enforcers take the time to go get a warrant, right?
 
It's true ? Bush might have had a point, except for one tiny little detail he refused to discuss at his press conference: namely, the fact that current law is so lax that he is already permitted to get a search warrant 72 hours after surveillance is conducted. Put another way, the law currently allows Bush to order surveillance as fast as he possibly can, and allows surveillance operations to take place immediately. The only thing that is required is a court-issued warrant that can be ussed retroactively within 72 hours of when the operation started. And, as I've noted earlier, the special court that grants these warrants has only rejected 4 government requests in a quarter century, meaning getting a warrant is about as easy as it gets...that is, as long as you aren't trying to do something wholly outrageous and unrelated to the War on Terror.
 
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