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Daschle insists post-9/11 law did not authorize warrantless wiretaps

[JURIST] Former US Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle [official profile; advocacy website] denied in an editorial in the Washington Post Friday that the post-9/11 congressional Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) provided any basis for warrantless National Security Agency wiretapping within the United States [JURIST report]. He wrote:

As Senate majority leader at the time, I helped negotiate that law with the White House counsel's office over two harried days. I can state categorically that the subject of warrantless wiretaps of American citizens never came up. I did not and never would have supported giving authority to the president for such wiretaps. I am also confident that the 98 senators who voted in favor of authorization of force against al Qaeda did not believe that they were also voting for warrantless domestic surveillance.
Daschle, now a fellow at a liberal Washington DC think tank, added that an option of giving the President additional war powers within the United States was expressly rejected, indicating that the administration recognized they were not included as the legislation stood. Daschle was responding to several assertions made in recent days by President Bush, US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and other Justice Department officials that the post-9/11 AUMF was sufficiently broad to allow the wiretaps, consistent with the security powers of the President. The DOJ released a 5-page memo [JURIST document] Thursday outlining the legal foundations of the NSA intercepts program in more detail, citing constitutional authority, AUMF, and judicial rulings. AP has more.

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