Speaking just now to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Dianne Feinstein has just declared that the FBI cannot possibly succeed in using national security letters if it is limited to engaging in warrantless surveillance in cases when it’s only limited to surveillance of suspected terrorists or spies.
Why cannot warrantless surveillance possibly succeed if it is limited to spying on suspected terrorists or spies?
Because the FBI program is not directed at engaging in surveillance of suspected terrorists or spies. Senator Feinstein has revealed the true purpose of the program of national security letters: to “ferret out” whether people not even suspected of terrorism or spying might nonetheless be terrorists or spies.
In short, Senator Dianne Feinstein has revealed the existence of a FBI program using warrantless national security letters to operate a dragnet surveillance program of people not suspected of terrorism or spying.
Or as Senator Russell Feingold summarized the FBI program just now: “this is a fishing expedition.”
Senator Feinstein laughed a merry laugh when describing this program.
The 4th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:
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.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Patrick Leahy and Senator Jon Kyl have come out and stated they will vote against the Durbin Amendment.