New York Times Death Spiral Watch (Energy/Speculation/Journalism/Internet Timothy Egan Edition)
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A Republic--If We Can Keep It. Happy Fourth of July

The Honorable Vaughan R. Walker:

Judge Rejects Bush’s View on Wiretaps: A federal judge in California said Wednesday that the wiretapping law established by Congress was the “exclusive” means for the president to eavesdrop on Americans, and he rejected the government’s claim that the president’s constitutional authority as commander in chief trumped that law....

The Justice Department... citing the president’s constitutional power as commander in chief to order wiretaps without a warrant from a court under the agency’s program. But Judge Walker, who was appointed to the bench by former President George Bush, rejected those central claims.... He said the rules for surveillance were clearly established by Congress in 1978 under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which requires the government to get a warrant from a secret court.

“Congress appears clearly to have intended to — and did — establish the exclusive means for foreign intelligence activities to be conducted,” the judge wrote. “Whatever power the executive may otherwise have had in this regard, FISA limits the power of the executive branch to conduct such activities and it limits the executive branch’s authority to assert the state secrets privilege in response to challenges to the legality of its foreign intelligence surveillance activities”...

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