Wednesday, January 25, 2006


FISA hypotheticals

Abdel, in Karachi, Pakistan and Mahmoud in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia are both members of al Qaeda, although no one in America knows this. They talk to each other on cell phones at least once a week to plan an attack on Miami, FL. They plan to fill up an 18 wheel truck trailer with ammonium nitrate and diesel, park it close to the Dolphins stadium during a football game there and blow it up.

Can the President, through the NSA, listen in on their conversations without having to apply for any warrant? If not, why not?

If Abdel travels to Miami and continues to talk on the same phone about his plans with Mahmoud to blow up football fans, does the President then need a warrant for NSA's listening in? Why?

It turns out that Mahmoud was born in Washington, DC, when his dad was a consular officer there, but he spent only three months in American and he's never gone back. Does the President need a warrant under those circumstances when Mahmoud's talking to Abdel and both are overseas? Why?

Why would we ever give up our technological advantage to obtain signal intelligence from foreign enemies during war time, especially in the sort of war where intelligence regarding planned attacks is key to thwarting such attacks and winning the war?

Why does the fact it's an American citizen, anywhere in the World, on the line with a foreign enemy deprive the President of powers traditionally inherent to his duties as commander in chief?

Why does the fact it's a foreign national, standing in America, on the line with a foreign enemy outside American deprive the President of powers traditionally inherent to his duties as commander in chief?

Answers on Sunday.

Hey Roger,

Ill give it a shot. First one yes. The NSA has the power to spy on anyone outside the country. From my understanding they only need a warrant to listen in on Americans in America. That is the issue.

So from that the answer to questions 2 and 3 are no and no respectively.

Ill leave the why questions to you. You are the professional.
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