If they delayed 10 hrs,  heads should have rolled.  Only US government
officials would be so unimaginative and bureaucratic (and Constitutionally
ignorant) to think that foreign terrorists have 4th Amendment protections.

US details wiretap delays in Iraq kidnap case

28 September 2007 

WASHINGTON - US authorities racing to find three kidnapped American soldiers
in Iraq last May labored for nearly 10 hours to get legal authority for
wiretaps to help in the hunt, an intelligence official told Congress on

The top US spy agency, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence,
sent Congress a timeline detailing the wiretap effort as the Bush
administration makes its case to wary Democrats for a permanent expansion of
its authority to eavesdrop on the foreign communications of terrorism

'In order to comply with the law, the government was required to spend
valuable time obtaining an emergency authorization ... to engage in
collection related to the kidnapping,' Ronald Burgess, principle deputy
director to McConnell, said in a letter to US Rep. Silvestre Reyes.

Reyes, a Texas Democrat, is chairman of the House of Representatives
intelligence committee.

Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell has been under fire from
some Democrats in control of Congress who say misstatements have eroded his
credibility. Some Democrats and civil liberties advocates say a temporary
expansion of the eavesdropping authority passed in August threatens the
rights of Americans and any permanent law needs more protections.

The timeline shows that at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT) on May 15, after three
days of developing leads on the whereabouts of the three soldiers who went
missing south of Baghdad, US agencies met to discuss ways of obtaining more

Concluding at 12:53 p.m. EDT (1653 GMT) that requirements for emergency
eavesdropping approval had been met, officials spent more than four hours
debating 'novel and complicated issues' in the case. They spent about more
two hours to obtain final approval from then-Attorney General Alberto
Gonzales, who was traveling.

The wiretap began at 7:38 p.m. (2138 GMT). Authorities then had 72 hours to
obtain a special court's endorsement of the emergency authority, which was
granted, a US official said.

McConnell told the committee last week that an outdated provision in the
eavesdropping law made the approval necessary because the targeted foreign
communications were carried in part on a wire inside the United States.

'We are extending Fourth Amendment (constitutional) rights to a terrorist
foreigner ... who's captured US soldier,' he said, arguing that this was
unnecessary and burdensome.

Congress temporarily broadened the law in August so such approval would no
longer be required, but that legislation expires in February and US
President George W. Bush wants a permanent law enacted.

An Al Qaeda-led group in June said it had killed the three soldiers, and
showed pictured of ID cards of two of the men.   


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