Warrantless Wiretapping is Illegal
Posted by Aaron Massey on 04 Apr 2010.
A federal court recently ruled that the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping was illegal. Essentially, the Bush administration created a policy where the NSA could wiretap phone calls without a warrant if the call was international and one party was believed to be a terrorist. Of course, records of these wiretaps were kept secret. Here’s Techdirt:
This created a ridiculous Catch-22 situation. As long as the government hid its illegal activities and never said who it spied on, it could spy on anyone illegally. No one could bring a lawsuit, since there was no proof that they had been impacted by the illegal spying.
Just as significant as the ruling, however, may be what the case demonstrates about the Obama Justice Department’s approach to surveillance of suspected terrorists. Eisenberg told SF Weekly that government lawyers working for Obama had been “more strident” than those working for Bush, refusing to let him see important federal documents related to the case even after he was approved for a top-secret security clearance.
The NY Times notes that Obama said wiretaps of this nature were “unconstitutional and illegal” when he was running for office. Then again, he also voted in favor of granting the telecommunications companies that performed the wiretapping immunity. McCain said he would continue the Bush administration’s policies. It’s a sad day when both major political parties in the United States are in favor of illegally wiretapping citizens. Refuse to be terrorized!