Warrantless Wiretaps Redux
Lest we forget…
Warrantless “National Security” Searches
The Clinton administration claims that it can bypass the warrant clause for “national security” purposes. In July 1994 Deputy Attorney General Jamie S. Gorelick told the House Select Committee on Intelligence that the president “has inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches for foreign intelligence purposes.” According to Gorelick, the president (or his attorney general) need only satisfy himself that an American is working in conjunction with a foreign power before a search can take place…
Attorney General Reno has already signed off on the warrantless search of an American home on the basis of the dubious “inherent authority” theory. The actual number of clandestine “national security” searches conducted since 1993 is known only to the White House and senior Justice Department officials.
President Clinton, however, has asked Congress to pass legislation that would give the Federal Bureau of Investigation the power to use “roving wiretaps” without a court order. The president also fought for sweeping legislation that is forcing the telephone industry to make its network more easily accessible to law enforcement wiretaps. Those initiatives have led ACLU officials to describe the Clinton White House as “the most wiretap-friendly administration in history.”
The King is dead. Long live the King.
[Source: Timothy Lynch, “Dereliction of Duty: The Constitutional Record of President Clinton.” Cato Policy Analysis No. 271. Internal cites omitted.]