Senator Russ Feingold has been hemming and hawing about censuring President Bush over the NSA wire tapping. Quite frankly, Feingold is a presidential wannabee, trying to impress the far left of the dem party, of which he one of. Naturally, wire tapping done without warrants, by Roosevelt, Truman and other dems was all quite legal. Lets not forget Carter's warrantless searches either. I have yet to hear Feingold whine about the illegalities there. There was also Clinton's wide ranging electronic eaves dropping whish the NY Times supported in an editorial. Terence P. Jeffrey asks if Feingold should be censured and provides some insight as to why in his article.
"There is a difference, however, between the eavesdropping Roosevelt and Truman authorized and the Bush eavesdropping. Roosevelt and Truman did it in peacetime without congressional authorization. Mr. Bush is doing it during a war Mr. Feingold voted Sept. 14, 2001, to authorize.Even the Courts have upheld the President's authority to conduct warrantless wire taps to collect foreign intelligence. Feingold and the rest of the left is quite selective in what they consider illegal wire taps and high crimes and misdemeanors. Perhaps Feingold should be censured for bringing nonsense like this to the Senate floor. - Sailor
Nonetheless, Roosevelt and Truman acted within their constitutional authority to defend the nation against attack. They were doing their duty, as is President Bush.
But in the Senate on Monday, while introducing his censure resolution, Mr. Feingold said, "The president's claims of inherent executive authority, and his assertions that the courts have approved this type of activity, are baseless."
Franklin Roosevelt could not have agreed. On May 21, 1940, the United States was at peace, but Roosevelt wasn't taking chances. "It is too late to do anything about it after sabotage, assassination and 'fifth column' activities are completed," Roosevelt wrote Attorney General Robert Jackson in a memorandum cited by Senate Intelligence Chairman Pat Roberts in a letter he sent last month to Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter. "You are, therefore, authorized and directed in such cases as you may approve, after investigation of the need in each case, to authorize the necessary investigation agents that they are at liberty to secure information by listening devices directed to the conversation or other communications of persons suspected of subversive activities against the government of the United States, including suspected spies. You are requested furthermore to limit these investigations so conducted to a minimum and to limit them insofar as possible to aliens."
Truman went further. Testifying before the Church Committee Oct. 29, 1975, Attorney General Edward Levi quoted a letter Attorney General Tom Clark sent Truman in 1946. Clark wanted to continue Roosevelt's program. Warrantless eavesdropping, he argued, was needed "in cases vitally affecting the domestic security, or where human life is in jeopardy."
In his letter to Mr. Specter, Mr. Roberts notes that "Truman broadened the scope of the authorization by removing the caveat that such surveillance should be limited 'insofar as possible to aliens.' "
Federal appeals courts have upheld the authority Roosevelt and Truman used. "[B]ecause of the president's constitutional duty to act for the United States in the field of foreign relations, and his inherent power to protect national security in the context of foreign affairs, we reaffirm... that the president may constitutionally authorize warrantless wiretaps for the purpose of gathering foreign intelligence," the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in the 1973 case of United States v. Brown. "