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IPFS News Link • Fourth Amendment-Search and Seizure

The CIA Wants More Power to Spy on Americans!

• by Andrew P. Napolitano

These agencies believe that the Fourth Amendment — which protects the individual right to privacy — only regulates law enforcement and does not apply to domestic spying.

There is no basis in the constitutional text, history or judicial interpretations for such a limiting and toothless view of this constitutional guarantee. The courts have held that the Fourth Amendment restrains government — all government. Last week, the CIA asked Congress to expand its current spying in the United States.

Here is the backstory.

When the CIA was created in 1947, members of Congress who feared the establishment here of the type of domestic surveillance apparatus that the Allies had just defeated in Germany insisted that the new CIA have no role in American law enforcement and no legal ability to spy within the U.S. The legislation creating the CIA contains those unambiguous limitations.

Nevertheless, we know that CIA agents are present in all 50 statehouses in the United States. They didn't arrive there until after Dec. 4, 1981. That's the date that President Ronald Reagan signed Executive Order 12333, which purports to give the CIA authority to spy in America — supposedly looking for narcotics from foreign countries — but keeps from law enforcement whatever it finds.

Stated differently, while Reagan purported to authorize the CIA to defy the limitations imposed upon it by the Constitution and by federal law, he insisted on a "wall" of separation between domestic spying and law enforcement.

So, if the CIA using unconstitutional spying discovered that a janitor in the Russian Embassy in Washington was really a KGB colonel who abused his wife in their suburban Maryland home, under E.O. 12333, it could continue to spy upon him in defiance of the Fourth Amendment and the CIA charter, but it could not reveal to Maryland prosecutors — who can only use evidence lawfully obtained — any evidence of his domestic violence.


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