The Wall Street Journal editorial page
argues today that the FISA opinion made public yesterday proves that Bush was right all along that the program was legal:
Ever since the Bush Administration's warrantless wiretapping program was exposed in 2005, critics have denounced it as illegal and unconstitutional. Those allegations rested solely on the fact that the Administration did not first get permission from the special court created by the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Well, as it happens, the same FISA court would beg to differ.This is a pretty lame effort to spin the FISA court decision. The most serious arguments against the TSP were statutory, and this new opinion decided a constitutional challenge after the statute was changed to allow the monitoring. The new FISA court decision is simply not about whether warrantless wiretapping is legal in some general sense, or whether the TSP program was legal at the time the program began. Rather, it was about whether a modified version of it violated one particular prohibition -- the Fourth Amendment -- based on the record before the court.
In a major August 2008 decision released yesterday in redacted form, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, the FISA appellate panel, affirmed the government's Constitutional authority to collect national-security intelligence without judicial approval. . . . .
For all the political hysteria and media dishonesty about George W. Bush "spying on Americans," this fight was never about anything other than staging an ideological raid on the President's war powers.