Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Lawful to follow orders

The legality of the latest Pres. Obama spy program has been questioned, getting this response:
“As far as I know, this is an exact three-month renewal of what has been the case for the past seven years,” said Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee.

It was carried out by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court “under the business records section of the Patriot Act,” she said. “Therefore, it is lawful. It has been briefed to Congress.”
This reminds me of what Richard Nixon said in the Frost interview:
Nixon: Well, when the president does it that means that it is not illegal.

Frost: By definition.

Nixon: Exactly. Exactly. If the president, for example, approves something because of the national security, or in this case because of a threat to internal peace and order of significant magnitude, then the president's decision in that instance is one that enables those who carry it out, to carry it out without violating a law. Otherwise they're in an impossible position.
In a technical sense, they are both right. It is lawful if they follow procedure.

Feinstein exaggerates when she says that Congress was briefed. Only a few of them knew about the spy program, and it is not clear that she understood the scope of it.

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