Nice way to miss the obvious! What you're missing in the National Review article is that this was DEBATED in the open at the time. That Clinton SOUGHT Congressional APPROVAL. That he actually sought real Congressional AUTHORIZATION. That Gorelick did TESTIFY before Congress and that The Washington Post was able to quote that testimony the next day. Clinton did not act like a THIEF IN THE NIGHT telling partial truths to an extreme minority of Congress and keeping them from seeking any legal opinion.
And that the outcome of that OPEN DEBATE was an executive order that DID NOT INVOLVE WARRANTLESS SPYING ON AMERICANS (and was not secret):
From Think Progress:
Fact Check: Clinton/Carter Executive Orders Did Not Authorize Warrantless Searches of Americans
The top of the Drudge Report claims “CLINTON EXECUTIVE ORDER: SECRET SEARCH ON AMERICANS WITHOUT COURT ORDER…” It’s not true. Here’s the breakdown –What Drudge says:That section requires the Attorney General to certify is the search will not involve “the premises, information, material, or property of a United States person.” That means U.S. citizens or anyone inside of the United States.
Clinton, February 9, 1995: “The Attorney General is authorized to approve physical searches, without a court order”
What Clinton actually signed:
Section 1. Pursuant to section 302(a)(1) [50 U.S.C. 1822(a)] of the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance] Act, the Attorney General is authorized to approve physical searches, without a court order, to acquire foreign intelligence information for periods of up to one year, if the Attorney General makes the certifications required by that section.
The entire controversy about Bush’s program is that, for the first time ever, allows warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens and other people inside of the United States. Clinton’s 1995 executive order did not authorize that. ****
Drudge pulls the same trick with Carter.What Drudge says:What the Attorney General has to certify under that section is that the surveillance will not contain “the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party.” So again, no U.S. persons are involved. ****
Jimmy Carter Signed Executive Order on May 23, 1979: “Attorney General is authorized to approve electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information without a court order.”
What Carter’s executive order actually says:
1-101. Pursuant to Section 102(a)(1) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1802(a)), the Attorney General is authorized to approve electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information without a court order, but only if the Attorney General makes the certifications required by that Section.
And, more from from Daily KOS:
****You don't have to be a lawyer to understand that Clinton allowed warrantless searches if and only if the AG followed section 302(a)(1). What does section 1822(a) require?
the "physical search is solely directed at premises, information, material, or property used exclusively by, or under the open and exclusive control of, a foreign power or powers." Translation: You can't search American citizens. and there is "no substantial likelihood that the physical search will involve the premises, information, material, or property of a United States person." Translation: You can't search American citizens.
****Here, Carter refers to "electronic surveillance," rather than "physical searches" like Clinton. But again, Carter limits the warrantless surveillance to the requirements of Section 1802(a). That section requires:
the electronic surveillance is solely directed at communications exclusively between or among foreign powers. Translation: You can't spy on American citizens. there is no substantial likelihood that the surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party. Translation: You can't spy on American citizens.
So sorry, folks: NO CIGAR (pun intended).