Bush-Era Dragnet Memos on Justification for Warrantless Wiretapping: “An Authority Congress Cannot Curtail”


“The president’s power to monitor the communications of Americans is virtually unlimited — by the Constitution, or by Congress — when it comes to foreign intelligence.” – Patrick Toomey, ACLU



Ellen Nakashima/WashingtonPost:

The Justice Department released two decade-old memos Friday night thanks to ACLU/EPIC FOIA requests, offering the fullest public airing to date of the Bush administration’s legal justification for the warrantless wiretapping of Americans’ phone calls and e-mails — a program that began in secret after the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The broad outlines of the argument — that the president has inherent constitutional power to monitor Americans’ communications without a warrant in a time of war — were known, but the sweep of the reasoning becomes even clearer in the memos written by then-Assistant Attorney General Jack Goldsmith, who was head of President George W. Bush’s Office of Legal Counsel.

“We conclude…

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