Myth: FISA prevented the Justice Department from conducting surveillance on Zacarias Moussaoui.
Myth: Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter signed executive orders authorizing warrantless domestic surveillance.
Myth: The FISA appeals court ruled in 2002 that the President had inherent authority conduct warrantless domestic surveillance in violation of FISA.
Myth: Former Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick argued President Clinton had authority to conduct warrantless domestic surveillance in violation of FISA.
Myth: Bill Clinton violated FISA when he authorized a program called Echelon.
Myth: The September 2001 Authorization of Military Force gave president Bush authority to conduct warrantless domestic surveillance.
Administration Deception and Lies
President Bush, 4/04: “[A]ny time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires — a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we’re talking about chasing down terrorists, we’re talking about getting a court order before we do so.”
Alberto Gonzales, 01/05: “it is not the policy or the agenda of this president to authorize actions that would be in contravention of our criminal statutes.”
NSA Director 10/02: Told a committee investigating the 9/11 attacks that any surveillance of persons in the United States was done consistent with FISA http://thinkprogress.org/2005/12/19/nsa-director/
Criticism From Conservatives
Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) supports a Congressional investigation. Lugar says “FISA Act has worked pretty well from the time of President Carter’s day to the current time.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): “I don’t know of any legal basis to go around [FISA]”
Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA): “There is no doubt that this is inappropriate.”
Columnist William Safire: “I’m with the critics”
Federalist Society Board Member Robert Levy: “The text of FISA §1809 is unambiguous: ‘A person is guilty of an offense if he intentionally engages in electronic surveillance … except as authorized by statute.'”
Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts, New York Times, 12/16/05
Nuclear Monitoring of Muslims Done Without Search Warrants, U.S. News and World Report, 12/22/05
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978
Authorization For the Use of Military Force, 9/18/01
Letter from Sen. John Rockefeller to Vice President Cheney,7/17/03
DOJ Memo To Congress Defending Program, 12/22/05 [Memo Debunked, 12/23/05]