This week we find that a liberal judge with a history of partisan bench rulings has decided that the Terrorist Surveillance Program (TSP) is illegal on Constitutional grounds. Judge Anna Diggs-Taylor's ruling I believe is based on some very dubious logic and shaky legal grounds.
Firstly in any lawsuit the court has an obligation to determine standing before making a ruling. The lawsuit was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The Judge allowed the suit without requiring the ACLU to demonstrate how they themselves or their clients were specifically harmed or had their personal rights or well being harmed by this program. Of course to do so would have required exposure of highly classified revelations. Very sorts of things that the left has constantly waved away whenever discussion of this program is brought up. Generally the courts throw out lawsuits that would require the government to reveal highly classifed state secrets as a matter of course. That alone should have tossed this suit. Instead she allowed it to go on without making the ACLU prove standing. The ACLU in fact has no standing in this matter.
Secondly the Judge, as many liberals have, referred to wiretapping. What we have been told about this program shows that it is not wiretapping. Instead it is eavesdropping on calls that are generated from phone numbers suspected of being connected to terrorists. That a call may originate in Hamburg and end up say...in Dearborn Michigan should not make it immune to intercept. There is no tap being put on any phones through this program. This is afterall, not a domestic surveillance program no matter how many times the New York Times and the blogosphere left say differently.
Thirdly the Judge claimed that the government can listen in for 72 hours without carrying out the very specific procedues that FISA requires. This is not true. It has not been true despite thousands of slanted articles written in the mainstream media to this effect. Under the program the National Security Agency (NSA) must prove to the Attorney General that a particular intercept can meet each and every one of the FISA requirements before they can listen in. No contrary instance was cited in this case (which again would have established some potential standing). The Judge seems to have drawn this conclusion from reading misinformation from the media rather then anything placed in evidence.
Fourthly the Judge makes the amazing statement that the Constitution (Fourth Amendment) "requires prior warrants for any reasonable search, based upon prior-existing probable cause." This is absurd in the extreme. Think about that for a second. By this statement she is claiming that a police officer who pulls you over with probable cause (erratic driving) suspecting that you are drunk..must first go to a judge to get a warrant signed before conducting a field sobriety test. Has there ever been a statement by a Federal Judge in a major ruling that was so obviously foolish? The Fourth Amendment is not designed to hide citizens from the government. This Amendment, as in all articles and Amendments in the Constitution, exists to provide reasonable protections for all citizens while providing for government to carry out it's primary tasks. Things like...protecting us during time of war by engaging in foreign intelligence collection.
Fifthly she ignored the repeated cases where the FISA Court of Review, Federal cases and the United States Supreme Court have all held that the President does in fact have inherent authority to conduct foreign intelligence collection as part of his duties as Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces. We are at war. This is not a criminal investigation we are talking about here. TSP falls absolutely under that authority since the NSA is a military intelligence organization and the TSP is a foreign intelligence gathering operation against enemies that we are in fact at war against. It would be hard for the law to be more clear.
Sixthly the Judge ignores vast numbers of rulings that contradict her opinions. This is unethical on her part and should be grounds for removal from the bench.
I conclude that the Judge is playing partisan politics with a vital program. The anti-Bush crowd is cheering a ruling that is short sighted, absurdly unprofessional, poorly written and not worthy of further consideration. It will be overruled on appeal either by the 6th Circuit Court or the United States Supreme Court. Further, to my friends on the left...remember this. We are at war. That is a matter of fact whether you like it or not. Programs such as TSP are ongoing all the time. It would frankly be completely impossible for this country to be defended without the ability to intercept foreign communications. This silly ruling by this silly judge taken to conclusion means that government never has authority to conduct a search of any kind without a warrant (overturning hundreds of years of legal precedent) and that none of our national intelligence agencies could conduct any surveillance of any potential enemy the moment that individual contacts a U.S. citizen in a tactical situation that can change instantly...without taking the steps to go to a court and demonstrate probable cause and acquire a warrant. No President in American history has had such a constraing placed upon them. No Commander in a battlefield could succeed under such conditions. Only the most insanely ignorant person on matters of warfighting would claim otherwise. The Judge has failed in her duties and has only proven that she...like many liberals...would rather see this nation lose the war on terror then to see Bush succeed. Her ruling is transparent. It must be overturned.