Comment: C-SPAN video

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C-SPAN video

"Before you can seek a FISA warrant, the Attorney General has to certify to the court that there is probable cause that the US person involved in the conversation is either a foreign power or agent of a foreign power, and a foreign power is defined to include terrorist groups." -Turner[@24m40s]

Robert Turner spends his whole time defending the notion that the President has unabridged Constitutional authority to intervene in foreign affairs at his own utterly unchecked discretion. At around 25 minutes in the video Turner engages a virtual sleight of hand. As he complains about the discrepency of the Attorney General [in concert with Judicial authority, and accountable to Legislative authority] having the legal autority, but the President having sole and unchecked Constitutional authority, to distinguish between "foreign" and "domestic", he is diverting our attention away from the rather contemporary notion that arbitrarily erases the distinguishable line between "foreign" and "domestic" [no matter who appears to control that decision]. So even if you buy his notion that the President has ultimate, unchecked and independent discretion, you [if you're paying close attention] must realize that the discretion in question is not really regarding traditional distinction between foreign and domestic but discretion regarding who we consider terrorist. All arguments from people like Turner ultimately lead to "but we are in a state of war against terrorism!", therefore what Turner is ultimately defending is the President's unchecked power to ambiguously determine who is to be designated "enemy" at any time, anywhere, the boudary of the theater's war being limited only by technological means and executive whimsy. By default "foreign power", "enemy combatant", and "terrorist" become identical in referring to anyone or anything that not only threatens, but might threaten, executive power. All roads inevitably lead to executive police state and martial law until we address these ambiguities. Current ambiguity equates terrorists to witches, and our current modus operandi equates to witch hunt. Anyone who questions executive power, lives in fear of being labeled a witch. This is dominantly a domestic phenomenon. The ultimate irony here is that what was once considered "domestic" is now increasingly seen as threat to executive power. If you listened closely to Turner, "domestic" is becoming the new "foreign", and this is certainly 180 degrees from what the Founders had in mind as such.