01/08/2006: Legal Answers A-Plenty...
The Congressional Research Service’s Memorandum on -- “Presidential Authority to Conduct Warrantless Electronic Surveillance to Gather Foreign Intelligence Information” -- Can be found at this link.
And aside from being a thrilling legal read- contains some language illustrative of the "Legislative Intent" NOT to allow a broader Presidential power to wiretap U.S. citizens *at will* as [the President] deems necessary to protect the nation against actual or potential attack” by excluding and rejecting specific language on that issue:
"As originally enacted, Sec. 2511 contained what appeared to be a much broader exception for national security intercepts. It excluded from the coverage of Title III surveillance carried out pursuant to the "constitutional power of the President to take such measures as he deems necessary to protect the Nation against actual or potential attack..., [and] to obtain foreign intelligence information deemed essential to the security of the United States...Congress repealed this language when it enacted FISA, and inserted Sec 2511(2)(f), supra, to make the requirements of Title III or FISA the exclusive means to authorize electronic surveillance within the United States, and to put to rest the notion that Congress recognizes and inherent Presidential power to conduct surveillances in the United States outside of procedures contained in chapter 119 and 120 [of title 18, U.S. Code]" Subsection (2)(f) was intended to clarify that the prohibition does not cover NSA operations (as they were then being conducted) and other surveillance overseas, including that which targets U.S. persons."
[CRS page 17]
And in Answer to Mr. Mike’s comments on *statutory interpretation* and his *intriguing* assertions on that point - is this tid-bit about how to *read* FISA Section 1811:
"Where Congress has passed a declaration of war, 50 U.S.C. Sec. 1811 authorizes the Attorney General to conduct electronic surveillance without a court order for fifteen calendar days following a declaration of war by Congress. This provision does not appear to apply to the AUMF, as that does not constitute a congressional declaration of war. Indeed, even if the authorization were regarded as a declaration of war, the authority to conduct warrantless electronic surveillance under 50 U.S.C Sec 1811 would only extend to a maximum of 15 days following its passage."
CRS page 27
[Emphasis is mine.]
So, first you have a Non-Partisan Congressional Legal Research *opinion* that the AUMF does NOT constitute a "Congressional Declaration of War."
Further, that the *plain meaning of the statutory language* is clear: (if ya count the AUMF as a declaration of War) then 15 days following the passage of the AUMF (Oct 16th. 2002) and any authorization would therefore have *expired* on Oct 31, 2002.
And - presumable - would not even have cover 15 days after the actual campaign of *Shock and Awe* date of the Invasion of Iraq- March 20th, 2003.
Or, certainly might have presumed to expire after the *Declaration of the end of hostilities* issued on May 1, 2003, and memorialized in this Speech on May 3, 2003:
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. On Thursday, I visited the USS Abraham Lincoln, now headed home after the longest carrier deployment in recent history. I delivered good news to the men and women who fought in the cause of freedom: their mission is complete and major combat operations in Iraq have ended. Our coalition is now engaged in securing and reconstructing that country. The United States and our allies have prevailed.
Operation Iraqi Freedom was carried out with a combination of precision, speed and boldness the enemy did not expect and the world had not seen before. From distance bases or ships at sea, we sent planes and missiles that could destroy an enemy division or strike a single building or bunker. Marines and soldiers charged to Baghdad across 350 miles of hostile ground in one of the swiftest mass advances of heavy arms in history. The world has seen the might of the American armed forces.
In this victory, America received valuable help from our allies..."
Hey... the War was OVER. Victory was Declared! It's merely been ongoing *security* and *reconstruction* efforts to parcel out more of the FREEDOM - According to our illustrious ole Child-In-Chief himself.
So - Fooey on these Faux Legal interpretations to EXCUSE this Potus under the Laws and Our Constitution. Time for some Presidential Accountability to go along with that Presidential Responsibility.
Note: And I will add, yet again, time for some High Court Statutory Interpretation to settle this issue on this topic.
Karen on 01.08.06 @ 08:58 AM CST