fourth-amendment

While most Americans were busy tearing ripping wrapping paper off Christmas presents, the Congress and the president were busy ripping the Fourth Amendment out of the Constitution.

As The New American reported, on December 28, 2012, 73 U.S. senators voted to extend the federal government’s authority to ignore the Fourth Amendment and wiretap American citizens without a warrant, without probable cause.

The renewal extends until 2017 the warrantless wiretap powers granted by provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments (FISA) passed by Congress in 2008.

President Obama signed the act into law on December 30, just hours before it was set to expire.

The FISA Amendments Act was originally signed into law by President George W. Bush on July 10, 2008 after being overwhelmingly passed 293-129 in the House and 69-28 in the Senate. Just a couple of days prior to FISA being enacted, Representative Ron Paul led a coalition of Internet activists united to create a political action committee, Accountability Now. The sole purpose of the PAC was to conduct a money bomb in order to raise money to purchase ad buys to alert voters to the names of those congressmen (Republican and Democratic) who voted in favor of the act.

George W. Bush’s signature was but the public pronouncement of the ersatz legality of the wiretapping that was otherwise revealed to the public in a New York Times article published on December 16, 2005. That article, entitled “Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts,” described the brief history of the “anti-terrorist” program:

Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials.

Under a presidential order signed in 2002, the intelligence agency has monitored the international telephone calls and international e-mail messages of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people inside the United States without warrants over the past three years in an effort to track possible “dirty numbers” linked to Al Qaeda, the officials said. The agency, they said, still seeks warrants to monitor entirely domestic communications.

It’s not the eavesdropping that’s the most egregious violation of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (such activities are conducted by law enforcement all the time for legitimate purposes), but it’s the indefensible fact that the federally empowered snoops conduct this surveillance without a probable cause warrant so long as one of the parties being monitored is located outside the territory of the United States. The justification being that if an American is talking, texting, or emailing a foreigner, then something might be said that would aid in the acquisition of “foreign intelligence information.”

Read More:  http://thenewamerican.com/