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Commentary :: Media : Politics
Bush and CIA Director-Designate Hayden Rewrite the 4th Amendment
14 May 2006
The Founding Fathers said government snoops need “probable cause” to spy on us, but Bush and Hayden don’t care.
Bush's nominee for head of the CIA, Gen. Michael Hayden, at a recent press conference, offered an interpretation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution that removes the requirement of "probable cause" from that important guarantee of freedom.

Asked by Jonathan Landay of Knight-Ridder about the Fourth Amendment's standard of "probable cause" for issuance of a warrant for a police search, Gen. Hayden disputed the standard.

"No, actually--the Fourth Amendment actually protects all of us against unreasonable search and seizure." Hayden said, trying to correct Landay.

"But it does say probable…" Landay tried to interject.

"No, the amendment says unreasonable search and seizure," snapped Hayden.

Now the problem here is that the General, who has been running the National Security Agency as it has been operating a secret program, just disclosed by USA Today, that monitors the phone calling records of virtually all phone customers of AT&T, Bell South and Verizon, is in fact selectively quoting from the Fourth Amendment.

What the Fourth Amendment really says is:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The trick here is that under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the NSA is required to obtain a court warrant for any domestic surveillance. What Bush has done is to authorize secret monitoring of Americans' communications without a warrant. At the same time, once he was caught in the act, both Bush and Gen. Hayden have claimed that they are following the same strict guidelines as if they were going to court for a warrant.

Clearly, however, the standard for a warrant, as laid out by the Founding Fathers, is "probably cause," not the much looser "reasonable" that Hayden asserted to Landay at the press conference. "Reasonable" and "unreasonable" are terms that are open to wide interpretation, after all. "Probable cause" is a much more objective standard, implying that the agency in question is already pretty certain that the subject of monitoring is guilty of a crime or of planning a crime.

We Americans, and the members of Congress who are being asked to consider Hayden’s fitness to serve as CIA director, need to challenge this veteran spook's sleight of hand.

Clearly there is no "probable cause" for monitoring all the phone records of the entire customer base of three of the nation's largest phone service providers.

That's why Hayden tried so hard to deny that the standard for monitoring people’s communications is "probable cause."

The president and his subordinates have been found out violating the Constitution in a serious way. If this is not an impeachable act, I don’t know what is.

For other stories by Lindorff, please go (at no charge) to :

To find out more about the new book, The Case for Impeachment, click here. For early review quotes, check out the “Impeachment News” box on the top right of the homepage at This Can't Be Happening! .
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Before u claim unconstitutional, you have to be able to read
14 May 2006
well Judge Dave, the constitution bans unreasonable searches, not all searches. looking for intellegence about what enemies in a war that crosses national boundaries, and in fact is waged in part on US soil, is not unreasonable, but reasonable. Reasonable in wartime is not as imprecise term as you claim, in a blatant effort to frustrate US military efforts to prevail in a war declared on it by Islamist forces worldwide including Islamist supporters in the US.

. you may support the other side; be honest enough to say you do. we will admire your honesty at your treason trial.
The Commander In Chief Fighting a War Is Not an Impeachable Act
14 May 2006
If surveillance of the enemy isn't an impeachable act the author of this spaced out article doesn't know what is?

Does he know what the President's duties are in the US Constitution? Like it or not, we have a very strong Presidency. Popular myth aside, we do NOT have "co-equal" branches of government in war time. There's a War on. You didn't know?
Bush Is A Weak, Lying, Murderous, Criminal.
14 May 2006
Let's clear up the B.S.!
Bush needs prison.
Hayden needs to join him in prison.
Anyone who agrees with Bush's criminal policies? Needs to read the Bill Of Rights, over and over again. Until their pea brain becomes human.
Re: Bush and CIA Director-Designate Hayden Rewrite the 4th Amendment
14 May 2006
"It's a war time", I ask you when it wasn't? War on Drugs, War on Poverty, War on Terrorism, War on Illiteracy.... Political justifications for taking power away from the people. I say it is time for a "war on wars" and under the constitution I have power during a war on wars, or as Jefferson said we need to overthrow the ruling order every hundred years.

The argument is wrong on it's own merit, the constitution in no way grants the president the right to take away citizen rights during a time of war, in fact it says the opposite. READ IT!
Re: Bush and CIA Director-Designate Hayden Rewrite the 4th Amendment
14 May 2006
The Constitution makes the Prez the top commander of the armed forces. the NSA is part of the armed forces. Congress, including Ted K and John K voted for the putative declaration of war against Islamist terrorists in 2001. In the US, the Constitution means what it says and what the Supreme Court later says it means. I frankly prefer the literal approach. Liberals like FDR and William Douglas demanded the Court interpret the Constituion broadly, including expansion of Exectuive Power. So your remarks brad are ironic.

However even without the liberal decisiions of the court from 1940-2000, the Court and Congress have been deferential to Presidential exercise of broad powers during wartime. Lincoln and FDR, and Woodrow Wilson now that I think of it, all did things in wartime that went way beyond anything Bush has done. So you have to look at the entire tradition as well as the language. The Fourth Amendment does not give enemy combatants any protection: it is clearly designed to protect American citizens in the ordinary course of their business. Only unreasonable searches are banned; interception of messages to and from the enemy are not. Enemies can be in this nation: The Revolution, War of 1812, Indian Wars, Civil War, Pancho Villa War of 1916, internal security actions against the Communist Party during the Cold War. Wars do not have to be explicitly declared by the way according to the courts for the President to exercise his powers as Commander In Chief.
The Bill Of Rights
15 May 2006
Bill of Rights
Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Amendment II
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
Amendment III
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
Amendment VII
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Amendment VIII
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

The 4th Amendment. Read it carefully.

As for Bush and his cronies? I'll start at the 9-11 coverup. (I'll skip his stealing of Florida in 2000.)
Don't believe me? Ask the 9-11 families who are sueing him! You can find them at:

Have a good day!