The New York Times reports that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court is expected to issue a major ruling validating “the power of the president and Congress to wiretap international phone calls and intercept e-mail messages without a court order,”even when U.S. residents’ personal communications are involved:
In validating the government’s wide authority to collect foreign intelligence, it may offer legal credence to the Bush administration’s repeated assertions that the president has constitutional authority to act without specific court approval in ordering national security eavesdropping.
Separately, in his confirmation hearing today, Attorney General nominee Eric Holder said the President cannot violate FISA:
FEINGOLD: Is there anything in the FISA statute that makes you believe that the president has the ability under some other inherent power to disregard the FISA statute?
HOLDER: No, I do not see that in the FISA statute.
“I think that’s a very important break in favor of the rule of law that we’ve been waiting for in this country for many years,” remarked Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI).