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For heaven sake, get a freakin’ warrant
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, January 04, 2007

This is, if true as written, simply unacceptable:
President Bush has quietly claimed sweeping new powers to open Americans' mail without a judge's warrant, the Daily News has learned.

The President asserted his new authority when he signed a postal reform bill into law on Dec. 20. Bush then issued a "signing statement" that declared his right to open people's mail under emergency conditions.

That claim is contrary to existing law and contradicted the bill he had just signed, say experts who have reviewed it.
These signing statements are increasingly troublesome. Somehow, it appears, the executive seems to think that he is entitled to go with his opinion of the law regardless of what the law really says.
Most of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act deals with mundane reform measures. But it also explicitly reinforced protections of first-class mail from searches without a court's approval.

Yet in his statement Bush said he will "construe" an exception, "which provides for opening of an item of a class of mail otherwise sealed against inspection in a manner consistent ... with the need to conduct searches in exigent circumstances."

Bush cited as examples the need to "protect human life and safety against hazardous materials and the need for physical searches specifically authorized by law for foreign intelligence collection."
I can't imagine why, given the intelligence necessary to know that something in the mail my provide a threat to human life, it wouldn't also provide the basis for a quick warrant to justify the action of opening the mail in question.
Critics point out the administration could quickly get a warrant from a criminal court or a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge to search targeted mail, and the Postal Service could block delivery in the meantime.
Exactly.
 
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And the beat goes on.

He’s really trying hard to convince me I shouldn’t have voted for him after all.

So, let me see if I can devil’s advocate this into a circumstance where I believe he NEEDS this power.

If they can open the package to search it, we can presume they HAVE it in their hot little hands.
Assuming it IS a threat, like they think it contains a bomb/weapon of Mail Destruction, or a bio hazard, they should be able to handle that in an appropriate fashion (stick it in a bunker or containment facility).
So, that rules that out, they have it, they suspect it, they aren’t going to put it back into the mail anyway OR they can delay it long enough to get a warrant, and get it back into the system in time (hell, they can have agents dressed as Mail Carriers deliver it if the Postal Service can’t manage it in time...which if it’s dangerous I’d hope they’d do rather than let it back into the standard Mail system anyway...)

So no boomboom, no biobug, maybe it contains useful intel then.

Now, their only excuse is they want to search it, and get it back into the mail system ASAP so any delay in delivery isn’t that noticeable.
If it contains intel....the argument is a little stronger.
Until I back track a moment and consider Im a judge, and I get a call from the OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES at 2:00 AM (when the Postal Service isn’t delivering mail anyway.....and items would be expected to be sitting in a Postal Service depot waiting to be routed or delivered or on a truck/plane headed from one depot to another).

I think I might be persuaded to issue a warrant if it sounded like they had a half decent case (Mohammed Al Jihadi sending a quick note to Allah Ackbar Al Kill Americani, both of whom we believe to be terrorists).

You make your case, you get your warrant, you open it, you read it.
Again, if need be you take the hot little intel package and you make a special effort to jet/drive it to it’s destination so that it gets there in a Postal Service reasonable time frame so as not to alert the sender/receiver.

errrrrr......

Nope, sorry, I’m having problems with this whole operation, there just doesn’t seem to be a reasonable excuse for this considering you have the entire U.S. government at your disposal to make sure this mail delivery doesn’t appear to be suspiciously interrupted to the parties on either end.

I mean, if they have the mail, and they don’t search it right now, this instant, what?, it’s going to fool the agents, escape, hide and catch a UPS truck to it’s destination, thus avoiding justice?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Unrelated to this particular post, but it would appear that your front page has been hacked. I had to fiddle with the address to get back this far.
 
Written By: Schneeble
URL: http://
I take any opinions cited by "Experts" or "Critics" with an appropriately-sized grain of salt. They may be correct, but I doubt the issue is as clear-cut as the author of the story suggests. I also think it’s facile to assume that anyone in possession of enough intel to know of a potential threat will also have enough to obtain a warrant. As a constitutional matter, warrants require probable cause, while searches and seizures need only be reasonable. If our notoriously imperfect intel suggest "only" a 49% likelihood that the contents of a particular letter or package are a threat to human life, I want them to open the damned thing, not lie to a judge to make it look as though the odds were 51% or better.
 
Written By: Xrlq
URL: http://xrlq.com/
I can conceive of circumstances where the time taken to secure a warrant would endanger the public generally, or specific individuals. Under those cirncustances, it is within historical precedent for mail to be opened, specifically if the mail is of foreign origin.

As long as evidence obtained without a warrant is not used for domestic law enforcement purposes—and specifically if the warrantless search is undertaken pursuant to a congressionally authorized military action—I’m fine with this.

Please take note that "signing statements" have no legal weight whatsoever, they don’t even have the force of executive orders, which can themselves be voided by a mere preliminary injunction. Signing statements provide no legal cover to persons who in complying with them break the law, and this is (or should be) known beforehand by any federal employee.

I confess I’m at a loss as to why anyone would get exercised by a signing statement when they do nothing whatsoever to modify the law being signed.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
If our notoriously imperfect intel suggest "only" a 49% likelihood that the contents of a particular letter or package are a threat to human life, I want them to open the damned thing, not lie to a judge to make it look as though the odds were 51% or better.
Do we anticipate this happening on a more regular basis than it has been in the past?

If so, what leads us to this conclusion?

How many people are being injured by postal items these days, and I’m not trying to be snarky.

Since the issue here is packages traveling from point a to point b in a normal time frame, why, if the package is suspicious is it suddenly time critical to make sure it’s not interrupted in the process of delivery to the point where we can’t delay it long enough to get a search warrant? Unless you’re trying to search it without alerting the sender and receiver to maintain the pretense you don’t suspect them (and they probably figure everyone suspects them if they’re terrorists). If it’s a device or bio weapon it’s more than likely possible to ascertain that without opening it (and, probably highly desirable to do so any way, since it’s unlikely Bob is mailing his ricin to Fred so Fred can mail it or distribute it...so, opening it probably triggers it),

meaning the only credible use is to gather intelligence.

The only even half reasonable excuse for warrantless searches of any kind is time criticallity, how does that standard apply to a postal item in transit, given there is a built-in delay for first class mail in the first place, even for items mailed intra postal code.

Mailed today before 5:00 - soonest delivery likely - tomorrow.

I can conceive of circumstances where the time taken to secure a warrant would endanger the public generally, or specific individuals
Okay, I’ll listen, under what circumstances? Since this is mail we’re talking about, I’m just not seeing it, but that doesn’t mean I refuse to be convinced when I hear a reasonable scenario.
I confess I’m at a loss as to why anyone would get exercised by a signing statement when they do nothing whatsoever to modify the law being signed
Then, why issue a signing statement at all? Why was it necessary?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Consider:

Polonium 210 slowly dripping out of an envelope.

Anthrax


Not saying this is the situation, but could this be due to technical fears?
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Yet in his statement Bush said he will "construe" an exception, "which provides for opening of an item of a class of mail otherwise sealed against inspection in a manner consistent ... with the need to conduct searches in exigent circumstances."
I’m hardly a lawyer, but I have watched almost every episode of "Law and Order". (;)) How is this different from the exception to the law that allows police to enter a home and search it when there are "exigent circumstances"? For instance, if an officer hears what he believes is someone being harmed in a house, he doesn’t need a warrant to enter it and deal with the immediate danger. He might need a warrant to search the entire house, but he wouldn’t need one to enusre that any threat to immediate safety has been dealt with.

That exception has been recognized by the courts; isn’t this a logical extension? If you hear a bomb in a package ticking, do you really need a warrant to open it? If mail is opened when the circumstances don’t warrant it, doesn’t the owner of the mail have the same recourse in law the owner of a house improperly seached would?

So, exactly what is the big deal here?
 
Written By: Strick
URL: http://
But it also explicitly reinforced protections of first-class mail from searches without a court’s approval.
That’s the big deal.

Either change the law or comply with it.

That’s the process.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
They can open and read all the mail they want without a warrant for all I care.

If they do open and read mail without a warrant, then none of the information can be used in a criminal or civil court proceeding or used as the justification to get other warrants.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Maybe I just missed the whole constitution thing, being a normal person and all.

You should be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

I take this to mean the government has two choices:
1) Search/seize and then hope the courts later clear it as reasonable.
2) Get it pre-cleared in the form of a warrent being issued.

It’s a question of when they want to roll the dice. Especially since the courts seem to hold a higher standard to post-fact clearance than warrent issuance.
Assuming it IS a threat, like they think it contains a bomb/weapon of Mail Destruction, or a bio hazard, they should be able to handle that in an appropriate fashion (stick it in a bunker or containment facility).
Got one of those handy near every postal facility? Care to pay for the construction?
 
Written By: Ryan
URL: http://
Either change the law or comply with it.
And the sum of the law has been and until explcitly changed remains, that actions undertaken in the prosecution of a congressionally authorized military action are not bound by the 4th amendment. Maybe that’s not how things are explicitly written or how McQ would like it, but it is how things have been done and how things have been adjudicated to be legal—until in this practicularly partisan domestics atmosphere, suddenly, the warfighting perogatives of the executive are diminished from what they were, in the eyes of some.

The 4th amendment had long been held to deal with peacetime domestic law enforcement. It has not been amended to cover the operations of our military when at war.

No need to change the law then, is there?

Oh. And seconding what Mark Flacy said:

"If they do open and read mail without a warrant, then none of the information can be used in a criminal or civil court proceeding or used as the justification to get other warrants."


Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Consider:

Polonium 210 slowly dripping out of an envelope.

Anthrax
Got one of those handy near every postal facility? Care to pay for the construction?
The 4th amendment had long been held to deal with peacetime domestic law enforcement. It has not been amended to cover the operations of our military when at war.
Okay guys - tell me the post office doesn’t already have procedures in place for ticking suspicious packages, and ’dripping’ packages.
My bunker comment being a facetious bit in the process, I’m merely trying to indicate the government has time to deal with this that preclude the need to open instantly without benefit of warrant.

I haven’t seen a single answer to address my question of what time critical reason there is for opening a package or envelope now, this instant, or within two, three, four, five, six, eight, ten, hours of now, this instant.

If the best you have is it’s okay for the government to paw through your mail because there might be a threat, now, this instant, than the only person there is a threat to, is some postal worker, sitting in the room with the package, or some collection of government agents, sitting in the room, with the package.

You’re all, completely, ignoring the time element here, and not a single justification as to why, a package, or envelope, marked first class, must be opened by the government now, this instant and can’t wait for a warrant to be issued.

If you want to talk about the failure of a judge to issue a warrant that’s one thing, but let’s not pretend that waiting for one to be issued, under reasonable circumstances, is the same as not having to even ASK for one in the first place.

Whether or not they can use the information is irrelevant, why should they be able to open a package or envelope right this instant without first getting a warrant? Let’s skip the ticking bomb thing, you know as well as I do, there are probably already postal regulations that allow them to deal with that in a appropriate, safe, and legal fashion.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
"These signing statements are increasingly troublesome."

They certainly are. I cannot fathom what purpose they serve, unless they are an atttempt by the President to create a new Presidential power of judicial review out of whole cloth, usurping the function of the judicial or legislative branches. There is, as far as I know, absolutely no Constitutional mention of them.

****************************
"He’s really trying hard to convince me I shouldn’t have voted for him after all."

You voted FOR him?
The proper action was to vote AGAINST Kerry.

******************************

"How many people are being injured by postal items these days, and I’m not trying to be snarky."

Why, paper cuts, of course.
*****************************

"Polonium 210 slowly dripping out of an envelope.

Anthrax"

If a postal worker detects radiation or the presence of anthrax, the first thing they will do(unless they are complete morons) is isolate they thing. By the time properly equipped and trained personnel are able to reach the scene, I am sure that more than enough time has elapsed to get a warrant. In any case, I am reasonably certain there are provisions under current law and postal regulations that cover such situations.

 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"why should they be able to open a package or envelope right this instant without first getting a warrant? "

But what if the judges phone is busy or he is on a potty break?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Consider
your two scenarios -

Case 1
Postal worker discovers item that generates suspicion, no one is looking for this beforehand.

Case 2
Government agents are stationed in a location and observe an item being mailed that they wish to intercept.

Case 1 - Postal worker notifies supervisor, who notifies, etc...eventually government agents of some sort show up.
They determine it’s possibly dangerous - they AREN’T going to open it themselves, they’re going to isolate it and get people who open dangerous things for a living to do it. Sounds like there’s some lag time in here between discovery and opening that might permit a warrant to be issued, presuming the postal regulations don’t already allow this to happen sans warrant.

Case 2 - Government agents contact post office to arrange for early postal box pickup, or government agents identify themselves to Postal Service workers on location indicating they want to check this bin for a suspicious item.
Guess what, that takes time - they can request a warrant as soon as they see the guy dropping it off so that process can be going on while they’re talking to the Postal Service people.
Where is the time critical nature in the second instance that warrants them ’opening’ the item on the spot?
If they don’t have the facilities to open it without making tampering evident, and that is their mission, then gee, guess what, they’re going to take it to some location where they DO have the facilities. The fact that they’ve taken it at all probably indicates they have pretty good reason to do so, and can probably get a warrant from a judge.

Please, gentlemen, describe the circumstances to me where a government agent is standing in a Post Office watching them sort mail, and says "Hey! Give me that envelope, it’s suspicious!" and then opens it right there on the spot.

There’s a considerable time lag in all the scenarios that allows for a parallel process of getting a warrant to take place.

They are not going to open a suspected bomb or polonium dripping package in the Post Office building (Kaboom....).

I return to my statement - only if you’re trying to mask the fact that you have intercepted the information does this become an issue. Surely if we were capable of doing that during the 2nd World War, and they were, and did, then I hardly think we’d have a hard time duplicating it today, more quickly, and I don’t see why they can’t get a warrant to do so first.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://

You’re all, completely, ignoring the time element here, and not a single justification as to why, a package, or envelope, marked first class, must be opened by the government now, this instant and can’t wait for a warrant to be issued.
Just show me the requirement for authorities to get a warrant to search. You have no freedom from warrentless searches, only from unreasonable ones. You’ve decided that any search without a warrant must be unreasonable, but that’s just not the case.
 
Written By: Ryan
URL: http://
Not sure if everyone has seen these videos of the US military in Iraq or not, but they are pretty amazing: Hopefully our ’surge’ will not include too many of these types...
http://minor-ripper.blogspot.com/2006/12/winning-hearts-and-minds-part-three.html
 
Written By: MinorRipper
URL: http://
Just show me the requirement for authorities to get a warrant to search. You have no freedom from warrentless searches, only from unreasonable ones. You’ve decided that any search without a warrant must be unreasonable, but that’s just not the case.
Just show me where there’s a time element that makes this reasonable. So far, a lot of complaint, a lot of "it’s okay!" not much reasoning as to what circumstances would require it to happen without allowing time for obtaining a warrant from a friendly judge.

Otherwise, your argument implies it’s reasonable for the government to read sealed mail without any prior consent from a judge explaining what they believe they might obtain?

Letters aren’t our property?
They belong to the government at the point we drop them in the post box perhaps?
There is no reasonable expectation of privacy in our personal correspondence, or our business correspondence delivered by the U.S. Postal Service?
They are on loan to us after we receive them from the Postal Carrier?
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.
What other legal provisions of a duly constituted Congress can be ignored on the basis they aren’t specifically mentioned in the Consitution (though, I believe, this one is)

And statute created by Congress
But it also explicitly reinforced protections of first-class mail from searches without a court’s approval.
is to be ignored?

The pertinent signing paragraph -
The executive branch shall construe subsection 404(c) of title 39, as enacted by subsection 1010(e) of the Act, which provides for opening of an item of a class of mail otherwise sealed against inspection, in a manner consistent, to the maximum extent permissible, with the need to conduct searches in exigent circumstances, such as to protect human life and safety against hazardous materials, and the need for physical searches specifically authorized by law for foreign intelligence collection
Are my letters not my papers or effects, or was I unaware that I had given up my right to privacy when I sealed my papers and placed a stamp on them and dropped them in the post box, despite the fact Congress seems to think otherwise (that makes it law, it’s Constitutionality can certainly be contested, but up until it’s determined to be un-Constitutional, it’s the law, the President’s signing not withstanding...)

I repeat - when is it exigent that they open this mail to the extent that waiting a couple of hours for a warrant will change the situation dramatically.
Do you seriously think any intelligence information going via the postal service is that time critical that it must be opened this instant, and that lives will be saved if they open it now, that won’t be saved if they open it 2 hours from now?
Are you seriously arguing that standpoint?

Notice, I’m not quibbiling with the need to open ’suspicious’ packages, though I also stand by my argument that hazardous materials, or substances in packages will NOT be opened AT the Post Office, BY government intelligence agents (or, indeed, by government postal employees) AT the time the package is recognized as potentially hazardous.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Just show me where there’s a time element that makes this reasonable. So far, a lot of complaint, a lot of "it’s okay!" not much reasoning as to what circumstances would require it to happen without allowing time for obtaining a warrant from a friendly judge.
When did "Do I have time to get a warrant?" become the bar for reasonable? It’s not the bar if you get stopped for speeding and the smell of drugs is so strong the K-9 in the police car goes ape-crazy. It’s not the bar if you hang up on 911 and the police find your front door unlocked and no noise coming from the house. Both of those searches would be reasonable, and you could make a strong argument that nothing would have changed had the police sat for two hours to gain a warrant.

Otherwise, your argument implies it’s reasonable for the government to read sealed mail without any prior consent from a judge explaining what they believe they might obtain?
No, my argument implies (And I thought clearly stated) that you have no freedom from warrentless searches. Just freedom from unreasonable ones. You for some reason seem to equate any search done without a warrant as unreasonable. And wishing will not make it so.

The government can defer seeking a court’s check on its search power if it chooses to, at great risk to the loss of any evidence obtained and at risk of civil penalities should it have violated your rights.

Letters aren’t our property?
They belong to the government at the point we drop them in the post box perhaps?
There is no reasonable expectation of privacy in our personal correspondence, or our business correspondence delivered by the U.S. Postal Service?
They are on loan to us after we receive them from the Postal Carrier?
Eh? You seem to have taken a leap here.

I repeat - when is it exigent that they open this mail to the extent that waiting a couple of hours for a warrant will change the situation dramatically.
Do you seriously think any intelligence information going via the postal service is that time critical that it must be opened this instant, and that lives will be saved if they open it now, that won’t be saved if they open it 2 hours from now?
Are you seriously arguing that standpoint?
Yup. Are you seriously taking the tact that because you think a tool MIGHT be misused it should be removed from the toolbox? Because you today can’t find a reason why we should ban it? You want an amendment to ban warrentless searches it sounds like. Think that’s really a good idea?
 
Written By: Ryan
URL: http://
When did "Do I have time to get a warrant?" become the bar for reasonable? It’s not the bar if you get stopped for speeding and the smell of drugs is so strong the K-9 in the police car goes ape-crazy. It’s not the bar if you hang up on 911 and the police find your front door unlocked and no noise coming from the house. Both of those searches would be reasonable, and you could make a strong argument that nothing would have changed had the police sat for two hours to gain a warrant.
How are these, in any way, related to reading the mail on a timely basis?
You don’t really perceive the difference in critical path here?
You may as well claim that I’m saying they should have to get a warrant to search a bank for a robbery ’suspect’ who’s taken refuge in the managers office.

The circumstances you’re using as examples have nothing to do with the time constraints a mailed item provides, and which, you still, have not, addressed to demonstrate exigence. Guess what, many judges will agree with this sentiment because of the medium in question.

But, if you think these actually are like circumstances to a traffic stop, or a 911 call, and it’s reasonable, that’s fine, I don’t, and we’ll have to set the boundries at that point.
The government can defer seeking a court’s check on its search power if it chooses to, at great risk to the loss of any evidence obtained and at risk of civil penalities should it have violated your rights.
BINGO!
You make my point.

So, when some lawyer gets a judge to believe that ALL the information gathered against a suspect is inadmissible because it was done based on a mail search sans warrant, and some hairy goober walks, and all they had to do to keep the bugger locked up and try him, was wait an hour to read his mail while a judge inked the warrant, don’t gripe, m’okay?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Actually, if a package contained polonium but was not leaking, I am not sure they could detect the radiation.

Anthrax: I forgot we already screen for that, no?
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://

You may as well claim that I’m saying they should have to get a warrant to search a bank for a robbery ’suspect’ who’s taken refuge in the managers office.
I can sure use your argument to justify that claim. I see that as a problem with your argument.

So, when some lawyer gets a judge to believe that ALL the information gathered against a suspect is inadmissible because it was done based on a mail search sans warrant, and some hairy goober walks, and all they had to do to keep the bugger locked up and try him, was wait an hour to read his mail while a judge inked the warrant, don’t gripe, m’okay?
You’re looking at this as always being a law enforcement problem where prosecution is the goal. It’s not. Itelligence gathering is an entirely different problem where the enemy suspecting you have information can render the information useless. Delaying the delivery of the express mail package 2 hours may be enough to invalidate the information contained in it because the reciepent will assume the data is compromised and move to plan B.

Re-read your quote:
The executive branch shall construe subsection 404(c) of title 39, as enacted by subsection 1010(e) of the Act, which provides for opening of an item of a class of mail otherwise sealed against inspection, in a manner consistent, to the maximum extent permissible, with the need to conduct searches in exigent circumstances, such as to protect human life and safety against hazardous materials, and the need for physical searches specifically authorized by law for foreign intelligence collection.
 
Written By: Ryan
URL: http://
Folks- this is not somethign new that the President is doing- he is reiterating a power that has been enstated for soem time now- and if you will all recall if you saw the report about the NSA that was reviewed by a bipartisan group- they were VERY impressed with just how much care the org took in making sure our rights were not trampled on- The president isn’t going to spontaniously erupt into a raging psychopath and start opening everyone’s mail- there HAS to be a stringent credible reason to do so- just as there always has been. SacredScoop.com
 
Written By: CottShop
URL: http://sacredscoop.com
"When did "Do I have time to get a warrant?" become the bar for reasonable? It’s not the bar if you get stopped for speeding and the smell of drugs is so strong the K-9 in the police car goes ape-crazy"

Perhaps I am wrong, but if the police want to search your car after it has been stopped for speeding, they do have to get a warrant if they wish to search it unless there is something in plain view. I think they can also do a cursory search for weapons in order to protect themselves, but any serious search requires a warrant.

" Both of those searches would be reasonable"

You seriously compare a situation where there is probable cause that someone’s life is in jeopardy to one where the feds want to read your mail?


"and you could make a strong argument that nothing would have changed had the "police sat for two hours to gain a warrant."

You are kidding, right? Someone is disconnected in the middle of an EMERGENCY call, and when the police arrive they find the front door unlocked, yet you think a strong argument could be made that the police would not be derelict in their duty if they did not immediately see if someone is injured or otherwise in need of assistance?

" Just freedom from unreasonable ones"

And it is unreasonable to search and read someone’s mail without a warrant 99.9% of the time.

*********************************
"Delaying the delivery of the express mail package 2 hours may be enough to invalidate the information contained in it because the reciepent will assume the data is compromised and move to plan B."

Oh, please. When was the last time you actually mailed something? What did they tell you about delivery times? Did they ever say it would be delivered in exactly X hours?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
minor-ripper

Thanks for the link. Most unpleasant.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Oh, please. When was the last time you actually mailed something? What did they tell you about delivery times? Did they ever say it would be delivered in exactly X hours?
I’ve overnighted things even with the USPS, and it got there in 18 total hours. I don’t know that if such a packet were to be intercepted for intelligence gathering, but that they’d have to pull an SR-71 out of mothballs to do the work and still get the package to the recipient in such a timeframe.

All I am saying is that there is no reasonable argument to be made that having a warrant is the end all and be all of the reasonableness of a search or seizure.

In fact given the basis of some warrants, I don’t know having a warrant is more than a figleaf.

As long as information gained from such a search is not used for the purposes of criminal investigation and prosecution, but for the prosecution of a congressionally authorized military action, I’m fine with it. It is within the historically accepted boundaires of what is constitutional.

And not in the sense of Dred Scott or Social Security—a long accepted but known unconstitutional practice—but in the sense there is evidence the Founders would have no problem with it.

Check out how Washington ran his spy network, and did counterespionage.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
As long as information gained from such a search is not used for the purposes of criminal investigation and prosecution, but for the prosecution of a congressionally authorized military action, I’m fine with it. It is within the historically accepted boundaires of what is constitutional.
Tom, I haven’t gone back to reference all the cites in the Presidents signing - do you know if that’s the implication of his exception, or could it not be considered more broad (and let’s all remember, good or bad, like him or don’t like him, agree with him or don’t agree with him and his interpretations of the law, he’s only going to be President for a couple more years and someone else
will have the job after him - this signing doesn’t end with his administration, what about the next guys - Nixon anyone?)

As I said, I can be convinced, up until now, nothing has done so.
But it has been instructive of the powers people are willing to grant, and I thought I was behind the WOT.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
"I’ve overnighted things even with the USPS, and it got there in 18 total hours. "

Each and every time? They told you in advance how long it would take? How did you find out?

", I’m fine with it."

Some of us aren’t. Attach a note to all your mail authorizing it to be searched at will. Leave mine alone.

"Check out how Washington ran his spy network, and did counterespionage."

The Constitution wasn’t ratified until 1789, after the Treaty of Paris ended the war in 1783. Check out how Washington ran his slaves.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
And it is unreasonable to search and read someone’s mail without a warrant 99.9% of the time.
Not arguing that’s not true. Arguing against looker’s 100% warrant required concept.
 
Written By: Ryan
URL: http://
"I’ve overnighted things even with the USPS, and it got there in 18 total hours. "
So...would you have noticed if it got there 19 hours later instead of 18 hours later?
Just asking, you know?
Not arguing that’s not true. Arguing against looker’s 100% warrant required concept.
I use a sliderule for my calculations of allowable percentages.
99.99999% and 100% are the same.

My argument is I fear that .01% failure rate might eventually set some hostile party free, for no good reason.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Looker wrote:
Just asking, you know?
Sorry I’m so late. I’m working here, y’know?

The shipment was for work, and I called the customer to tell them I shipped it and they replied it was already there.

My UPS ship time is 3:30, and the post office was open ’til 4:30...and I wasn’t driving to Dulles to get to the UPS store or whatever.
I use a sliderule for my calculations of allowable percentages.
99.99999% and 100% are the same.
The real world is analog, not digital—but it is digital in each case. If they did that once, then the occurrence would not be 100% non-warrantless search, but 100*(shipped/(shipped-1)).

And still not neccessarily unreasonable.
My argument is I fear that .01% failure rate might eventually set some hostile party free, for no good reason.
Only if we stupidly involve domestic law/lawyers in warfighting—which you seem to be trying to do.

JCILISI.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Only if we stupidly involve domestic law/lawyers in warfighting—which you seem to be trying to do.
"We" and ’you’ which = ’me’ don’t enter into it - they take it upon themselves.
Unless you and I unwittingly asked Ramsey Clark to defend Saddam Hussein, as but one example.

I’m just saying - this isn’t something I’m going to have too much control over, my way, your way, or the President’s way.

But, seriously, would anyone have really noticed if it got there 19 hours later instead of 18 hours later.

Just answer that 1 question in the affirmative and my whole argument goes down in flames, it’s real simple.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
"We" and ’you’ which = ’me’ don’t enter into it - they take it upon themselves.
It’s we, you, and me having the discussion.

What if they want to bug the box/packaging/item?

Maybe that can’t be done until they have the packet and then takes some minimum time?

I’d love to to think the WoT is important enough they have judges briefed and ready to sign off on things the second something seems needful.

I expect we’re still at the, "You better have a good reason to have woken me up at 3am, now take at least three hours to explain then details of this case to me before I even consider a warrant."

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
It’s we, you, and me having the discussion.
then ’we’ did ask Ramsey Clark to defend Saddam? What about those
busybody do-gooders in the ACLU is that me and you?
I’m not asking them to get involved, and I know you aren’t, but you know they will if they get a chance.
I’d love to to think the WoT is important enough they have judges briefed and ready to sign off on things the second something seems needful.

I expect we’re still at the, "You better have a good reason to have woken me up at 3am, now take at least three hours to explain then details of this case to me before I even consider a warrant."
Well, that was my thinking, only because they’re watching for a package to open (or bug, good example, by the way) meaning they have some expection, meaning they could have prepped a judge as to why they’d want to look at such package. And I’m expecting them to judge shop to expedite the process.

I hardly think they’re randomly pulling mail out of a pile and saying - "hey, let’s check this one out".

We’re not talking random passenger screening at airports here, there’s a lot of planning that had to go into knowing there was a worthwhile package to intercept and search in the first place.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Thoughts while taking down the outside Christmas lights.

Unless they’re tailing someone, they’re not going to intercept packages at departure - they’re going to intercept them at destination site (for the sake of argument, we’ll leave the sending intercept out, I feel that falls within my ’you could have gotten a warrant’ scenarios).

They’re going to be looking out for them in a method like unto the way they handle change of address deliveries, which they re-route (magic re-routing pixies handle this job) and probably requires some human handling at the receiving site.

Having gotten an item that requires this special handling they will set it aside and notify the proper authorities an item has arrived for review.

My hour has surely been used up......

Proper authorities show up to review package, etc.
If it’s an express package un-noticed delivery lag time grows short.....still no warrant.

Okay, I can see a more plausible excuse (for a judge at a later date) as to why they needed to open it without the warrant in hand or in request process.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
You for some reason seem to equate any search done without a warrant as unreasonable. And wishing will not make it so.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.


In place of the exasperated rant I just typed out and deleted, I’ll leave this list of perfectly legal warrantless searches for your viewing and reading pleasure.

*sigh*
 
Written By: Cassandra
URL: http://www.villainouscompany.com/vcblog/
The ticking or oozing piece of mail doesn’t apply. If such a thing is spotted, you call the cops and leave the premises.
This is really for soemthing suspicious that is being tracked for other reasons: suspicious addressee, for example. In which case, getting a warrant should be no problem.

I’m more concerned with these countless signing statements. This need to assert limitless powers at every turn is beginning to smack of a mental condition. If, as is claimed, this adds nothing new, then why re-state it in a new statemtnt? If it does add new powers, then why not issue a presidential order and make it official?
It makes no sense, but it is beocming more and more worrisome with every new statement.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://

 
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