Last Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States granted a petition to hear a lawsuit calling for an end to another case challenging the constitutionality of the government’s warrantless wiretapping program.
This Orwellian (and unconstitutional) surveillance scheme was established in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001 and was explicitly authorized by an act of Congress passed in 2008.
Naturally, the Obama administration is pleased by the high court’s announcement, as it has followed the tack laid down by the George W. Bush White House that holds that the federal government’s monitoring and recording of the private communications of American citizens is not subject to legal scrutiny.
At issue in the case is the interpretation of the Federal Information Securities Act (FISA) Amendments Act, which has been challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other civil rights watchdog groups. The FISA Amendments Act purports to permit the intelligence and security agencies of the United States government to eavesdrop on the electronic communications routinely carried on among citizens of this Republic and those residing overseas.
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 e-mailing a foreigner then something might be said that would aid in the acquisition of “foreign intelligence information.”
This policy is such a shameful disregard for our long history of individual-based human and civil rights (including the freedom from unwarranted searches and seizures) that it shocks the conscience even when the source is considered.Details