As Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., noted, it’s "good news" that the Bush administration apparently will no longer conduct warrantless wiretaps. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced in a letter to Congress Wednesday that the administration got approval for its domestic spying program from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The nature of this approval is unclear: Was it a blanket approval? Or must the administration get a warrant in each individual case? It needs to be the latter.
Americans want our government to spy on and hunt down terrorists. But there needs to be a judicial check to make sure there was probable cause for the spying. That’s why a federal judge struck down the program as illegal and unconstitutional.
The administration’s flip is likely more a result of the Democratic takeover of Congress than a change of heart. Still, as Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., noted: "If they are doing a backflip toward following the law, that’s a lot better than their original position."
Posted by Phillip Brownlee
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