Good legal analysis by the President:
The Act does not constrain my constitutional authority to review and, if appropriate, control disclosure of certain classified information to the Congress. I note that the Act's legislative history makes clear that the Congress, although disagreeing with the executive branch regarding the operative constitutional principles, does not intend to foreclose the exercise of my constitutional authority in this area.The President also authorized the Attorney General "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 Constitution vests the President with authority to control disclosure of information when necessary for the discharge of his constitutional responsibilities. Nothing in this Act purports to change this principle. I anticipate that this authority will be exercised only in exceptional circumstances and that when agency heads decide that they must defer, limit, or preclude the disclosure of sensitive information, they will contact the appropriate congressional committees promptly to begin the accommodation process that has traditionally been followed with respect to disclosure of sensitive information.
Who was that President? William Jefferson Clinton, in 1998 and 1995 respectively, repeatedly echoed by other Clintonistas during his administration. (Jimmy Carter also agreed in back in 1979.) Those Democrats, at least, could read the law (50 U.S.C. § 1802) explicitly authorizing warrantless wiretaps in foreign intelligence investigations.
President Bush's identical analysis was wrongly smeared by Democrats unconcerned with securing Western Civilization and a publicity-hungry error-laden press unconcerned with national security. In view of Clinton's concurrence, Reliapundit at The Astute Blogger says:
This presidential statement is a DOUBLE WHAMMY for foes of Bush: it clearly reiterates that the NSA leakers are criminals, and that the constitutional powers Bush is asserting over the NSA and the gathering of intelligence are neither new or peculiar to conservative or GOP presidents. (Proving once again that this whole episode is a drizzle in a teacup.)
NRO's Andrew McCarthy lists 28 sorts of warrantless searches lawful under the 4th Amendment.
(via Pajamas Media)