Sunday, January 29, 2006

Improbable Cause

The folks who are eavesdropping on our phones calls seem to have their wires crossed.

General Michael Hayden, the former Director of the National Security Administration insisted during a press conference that the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution establishes a "reasonableness standard" for searches of people and their property. However, he bluntly denied that "probable cause" is required by this amendment prior to obtaining a search warrant.

In fact, the Fourth Amendment says:
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 questioner, Jonathan Landay with Knight Ridder, was actually doing a good job of exploring the underpinnings of the Bush Administration's warrantless searches -- most courts would reject their "reasonableness" argument and ask for evidence of a probable connection between the citizen and a crime, real or potential. So the Bushies simply argue that the Fourth amendment only requires warrants for UNreasonable searches and that their actions are perfectly reasonable.

Why aren't there more good guys like that in the mainstream media?


View the video at Crooks & Liars.