The Fourth Amendment is unambiguous:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Fourth Amendment, United States Constitution
The line of excuses/justifications being offered by the Administration is interesting. First, the President is saying that FISA is being followed, and warrants are being obtained. This is available on tape, and are statements made to an audience.
Then he gets caught doing otherwise. The "liberal" media doesn’t hold him accountable for the first batch of lies, and neither does our distinguished Congress.
Then the excuse is that he got permission to do it in the "Use of Force" act. However, no one seems to be able to find that section. So he says it’s based on his powers as CnC during war time. However, we are not in a declared war.
Next it’s based on an opinion by the Justice Department. Ghee, I don’t recall from my High School civics class anything about the Justice Dept. being the final arbiter on Constitutional Questions. I thought the Judiciary handled that.
So, most recently, it’s all OK because they briefed a few members of Congress. Once again, sorry, I can’t find the clause in the Constitution saying you can set aside the Constitution so long as you tell a couple members Congress you are doing it.
I’m not even sure the retroactive warrants allowed for in FISA meet Constitutional muster. With Alito on the Court, I’m sure they will, but I suspect I would rule otherwise. This just hasn’t been challenged yet.
The media seems to demur to all Bush’s excuses, and never refers back to the Constitution, nor do they call the President on his changing explanations/excuses.