The President is the top commander of our military, and as such has the right to make military decisions. Anyone familiar with the military knows that the military does not necessarily operate under the Constitution, but falls under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. All military rights are also outlined there, and they closely resemble the Constitutional rights soldiers give up when we sign up to become government property, but they are not the same. It is also widely acknowledged that the US Constitution does not apply to the enemy when we are actively engaged in a war.
Given what I have just stated, we are forced to examine who, exactly, was being spied on. The monitored communications were exclusively between foreign terrorists, and their agents inside the US. Under the existing laws of warfare, that makes them all enemy combatants, and places them outside the US Constitution and into the military realm. Furthermore, since terrorists do not perform the requisite activities to fall under the protection of the Geneva Convention, they and their supporters lack even that rudimentary protection. Given all of this we are able to do far more than just listen to some phone calls the foreign terrorists make.
Also, just so nobody can miss this essential fact: the ones being spied on were the foreign terrorists! The fact that their communications were with US residents/citizens does not protect the foreign terrorists from being spied on.
Furthermore, even outside of the capacity of Commander in Chief, the President actually has some very broad extralegal powers. Some widely accepted examples are pardons, where the President overrules the rule of law and actually undermines justice in favor of mercy or political favors, and the Executive Order, which is a law issued by the President that utterly bypasses the Congressional process of lawmaking. The Executive Order has other uses as well, like sending the military in to provide disaster relief without first being asked by the State Governor, like so many on both the right and the left were demanding after Katrina hit. What almost all of them failed to realize is that such an action, while within the President’s power, violates the law, and the US Constitution itself. So it seems that there is a sort of selectivity in regards to which extralegal powers the left WANTS the President to exercise.
Further proof of this is found in the Oath of Office for the President. It is unique among the oaths of office made at the federal level because it does not swear to uphold the law. Rather, it swears to execute the Office of the President, which many Constitutional scholars say is a reference to the Founder’s intent that the President hold extralegal powers out of necessity.
Does this give the President Carte Blanch to do whatever he pleases and forget the law? Obviously not, as the Nixon debacle proved when he spied on political opponents and obstructed justice, and as the impeachment of Bill Clinton proved when he too obstructed justice. It does, however, and history has proven, give the President al of the authority he needs to spy on the enemy when we are at war.
So get over it libs. The President did the right thing by spying on those foreign terrorists. And as far as I am concerned, the refusal to acknowledge the fact that foreigners were the primary target of the spying in favor of “American Rights” is silly, short sighted, purely political, bad for America, and borderline treason. Must you make it as easy as possible for our enemies to murder us on our soil?