- The Coup
Here's my thing with the domestic eavesdropping by the NSA. If, as the administration claims, it's only setting up wiretaps on incoming foreign communications from suspected terrorists, then that's not a big deal. The issue is why they don't use the court system that's set up for exactly that sort of thing. The only reason I can think of is that in these cases they don't have probable cause to be setting up the wiretap and therefore wouldn't get a warrant from the court. It's interesting to look at the arguments that the administration has been putting forth. As always they're diverting the argument from the issue at hand. The main argument of the administration is that these wiretaps were needed to fight terrorism and in the name of national security and so on and so forth. Fine. That's not the issue though. The issue is that they set up the observations without a warrant, in direct violation of the law and the system of checks and balances that is the core of the American system of government. In my opinion, if the courts determine that the NSA has probable cause to be setting up wiretaps, then go for it, as long as there is a check on the abuse of power and an independent court has reviewed and okayed the warrant then I don't really have much of a problem (whether the court is independent, well, that's another question to be looked at, don't know much about the secret court set up under FISA).
However, if the NSA are going beyond what they say (would anyone be shocked if they were?) and are setting up observations on US residents without any connection to outside agents, then that's just straight up illegal and not open to question, domestic spying is against the law. This presents a much more sinister reason for not utilizing the FISA court, they know what they are doing is illegal and that there is no way in hell they would get a warrant (at least I hope they wouldn't). Given the current administration, this is a very distinct possibility.
Feel free to let me know what you think, that's what this is here for.