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Bye bye Fourth Amendment?

Continuing the wish-it-were-laughable criminal behavior of the man sitting in the Big Chair, Jon at The Pensito Review passes on this news:

Keith Olbermann had breaking news on Countdown tonight: US News & World Report is reporting that the White House may have authorized warrantless physical searches of homes of United States residents in the months after the 9/11 attacks.

There’s a DKos diary up with an unofficial transcript of Olbermann reading the USN≀ release. A prime snippet, from Keith’s conversation with George Washington Law School prof Jonathan Turley:

Olbermann: (reading from a U.S. News & World Report press release) “Soon after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, lawyers in the White House and the Justice Department argued that the same legal authority that the same legal authority that allowed warrentless electronic surveillance inside the US, could also be used to justify physical searches of terror suspects homes & businesses without court approval.”

Olbermann: Doesn’t that send chills down your spine?

Turley: Well it does. It’s horrific, because what that would constitute is to effectively remove the 4th Amendment from the U.S. Constitution and the fact that it was so quick as a suggestion shows the inclinations, unfortunately, of this administration. It treats the Constitution as some legal technicality instead of the thing were trying to fight to protect. Notably, the U.S. News & World Report story says the FBI officals, or some of them apparently, objected… [W]e’re seeing a lot of people in the administration with the courage to say “Hold it, this is not what we’re supposed to be about. If we’re fighting a war, it’s a war of self definition and if we start to take whole amendments out of the Constitution in the name of the war on terror-we have to wonder what’s left at the end, except victory.”

Olbermann: (reading from the press release) “According to 2 two current and former government officals . . . the Bush administration lawyers presented the arguments to senior FBI officals who expressed strong reservations about their proposal. . . . It could not be determined whether any warrentless physical searches had been carried out under the legal authority cited by the administration, but at least one defense attorney representing a terrorism suspect has alleged that his law office and home may have been searched without a court warrant.”

Also, in the DKos thread comments, Chapel Hill Guy noted that Alberto Gonzales was asked by Chuck Schumer about physical searches during the February Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on warrantless eavesdropping, and Mr. Torture-is-AOK was tap dancing on this, clearly he knows Dear Leader has a “no warrant, no problem” attitude:

Now, here’s the next question I have: Has the government done this? Has the government searched someone’s home, an American citizen, or office, without a warrant since 9/11, let’s say?

GONZALES: To my knowledge, that has not happened under the terrorist surveillance program, and I’m not going to go beyond that. (emphasis mine)

SCHUMER: I don’t know what that — what does that mean, under the terrorist surveillance program? The terrorist surveillance program is about wiretaps. This is about searching someone’s home. It’s different.

So it wouldn’t be done under the surveillance program. I’m asking you if it has been done, period.

GONZALES: But now you’re asking me questions about operations or possible operations, and I’m not going to get into that, Senator.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding