Fun with Search Functions

Just for the heck of it, I entered “wire tap” into’s search function, to see if I could find any place where the administration had warned us that they were using them without warrants. It turns out, not so much.

July 2005:

The judicial branch has a strong oversight role in the application of the Patriot Act. Law enforcement officers must seek a federal judge's permission to wiretap a foreign terrorist's phone, track his calls, or search his property. These strict standards are fully consistent with the Constitution. Congress also oversees the application of the Patriot Act, and in more than three years there has not been a single verified abuse.
June 2005:

The Patriot Act extended the use of roving wiretaps, which were already permitted against drug kingpins and mob bosses, to international terrorism investigations. They must be approved by a judge. Without roving wiretaps, terrorists could elude law enforcement by simply purchasing a new cell phone.
June 2005 again:

One tool that has been especially important to law enforcement is called a roving wiretap. Roving wiretaps allow investigators to follow suspects who frequently change their means of communications. These wiretaps must be approved by a judge, and they have been used for years to catch drug dealers and other criminals…

Finally, we need to renew the critical provisions of the Patriot Act that protect our civil liberties. The Patriot Act was written with clear safeguards to ensure the law is applied fairly. The judicial branch has a strong oversight role. Law enforcement officers need a federal judge's permission to wiretap a foreign terrorist's phone, a federal judge's permission to track his calls, or a federal judge's permission to search his property. Officers must meet strict standards to use any of these tools. And these standards are fully consistent with the Constitution of the U.S.
April 2004:

[The Patriot Act] allows law enforcement to conduct investigations without tipping off terrorists. If criminals are tipped off too early to an investigation, they are likely to flee, destroy evidence, intimidate or kill witnesses, cut off contact with associates, or take other actions to evade arrest. Therefore, Federal courts in narrow circumstances have long allowed law enforcement to delay for a limited time notifying a subject that a judicially-approved search warrant has been executed. The USA PATRIOT Act codified the procedures for obtaining these warrants, which require court approval. Notice is always provided, but with reasonable delay, enabling law enforcement to identify the criminal's associates, eliminate immediate threats to our communities, and coordinate the arrests of multiple individuals without tipping them off beforehand.
April 2004 again:

[T]o give you an example of what we're talking about, there's something called delayed notification warrants. Those are very important. I see some people, first responders nodding their heads about what they mean. These are a common tool used to catch mobsters. In other words, it allows people to collect data before everybody is aware of what's going on. It requires a court order. It requires protection under the law.
And for extra, super-duper fun, read this July 2005 edition of Ask the White House.

(Oh, I see someone else had the same idea, and found yet another interesting blast from the past.)

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