Anyone who has ever entered the United States after traveling abroad knows that the federal government does not always need a warrant to conduct a reasonable search of a person’s belongings. The federal government has a myriad of interests, including national security, that outweigh a person’s right to privacy at the border (which if you’re flying from Cancun to St.Louis, includes the St. Louis airport). Following that same logic, the government also has an interest in monitoring international communications between persons inside the United States and persons abroad.
For the left, however, any policy that allows the government to monitor international communications represents the end of the Fourth Amendment as we know it. Well the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review released a declassified opinion yesterday completely validating President Bush’s Protect America Act warrantless wiretapping program. The Washington Post reports:
A special federal appeals court yesterday released a rare declassified opinion that backed the government’s authority to intercept international phone conversations and e-mails from U.S. soil without a judicial warrant, even those involving Americans, if a significant purpose is to collect foreign intelligence.
In its opinion, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review ruled that national security interests outweighed the privacy rights of those targeted, affirming what amounts to a constitutional exception for matters involving government interests “of the highest order of magnitude.”
The architect of the program, outgoing CIA Director Michael Hayden told the Los Angeles Times: “My reaction? Duh.”