Black Bag Searches Back Again?

US News & World Report asks an interesting question: if warrantless electronic search of United States citizens is legal as the Bush administration claims, is warrantless physical search also legal? The article doesn’t really answer the question, except to say the White House seems intent on staking a legal position broad enough to cover all kinds of search, and the FBI under Mueller has been keen to disassociate itself from such shenanigans.

6 thoughts on “Black Bag Searches Back Again?”

  1. The article says the administration cited J Gorelick’s statement (of the Clinton admin) that the war powers include warrantless physical searches; and they cited it in the context of defending the overseas/domestic surveillance program that has lately come under fire, not in defense of conducting physical searches themselves. Conducting warrantless physical searches is clearly a broader interpretation of the war powers than the Bush admin has exercised. Their attorneys would be negligent not to cite such arguments, made by previous administrations.

    I really like your blog, I am very interested in the kind of posts you have about cutting edge tech and science. But, and please don’t take this wrong, I think your blog suffers a bit by mixing political opinion with the geek interest. You could drive away some readers who are not interested in politics, or who are of the opposite political persuasion than yourself. I realize that is unsolicited advice, and I offer it without malice or insult.

  2. I agree. Tech and science is what I came here for, and those articles are very good. The politics… suck.

  3. In response to your comments on the linked article, agreed that the primary evidence for the article is the Gorelick statement, although there’s also commentary from an unnamed senior FBI employee that suggests the Bush administration at least wants to have warrantless physical search in its bag of tools.

    I appreciate your comments about keeping politics out of the mix on this blog, and it’s certainly not my intention to intrude on DailyKos’ territory. That said, this is not a gadget site, and it’s not just about science. Futurismic is a site for people interested in the future, and you can’t speak honestly about the future by pretending that politics doesn’t exist. What happens to the political future of the United States and the world in general is just as interesting and important as what comes out of Apple’s ivory tower.

    I also believe that what makes blogs interesting to read is the sense that the writer is a real person, with real opinions and a distinctive style. To that end, I don’t intend to suppress my own political opinions when writing about politics.

    I also intend to keep the focus of even political entries on the potential futurismic implications. I intend to write with a sense of respect for people who hold different political viewpoints, and I’d love it if Futurismic became one of those rare sites where people of all political persuasions feel comfortable rationally and respectfully discussing issues. I hope that people like you will keep me honest by speaking up if my entries grow too strident.

    I intend to write more on the topic of politics and its role on Futurismic in an upcoming column. I’d love to hear your opinion on it when I publish it, probably in the next four days.

  4. It is your site and that’s the bottom line. I hope it works. It could be more interesting tho if you had a regular contributor to your right.

    A point I think should be emphasized. Once you inject politics, the implications easily extend beyond the immediate or intended context. Extrapolations to clarify motivations, as well as past and future consequences should be expected.

    Even this subject of a “link” to physical searches – being linked to the electronic, its nature and consequences can easily be expounded upon, much more than what’s been posted. Its easy to get into, but I don’t know if such discussion is what you intend? I’m saying a can of worms can be opened making it difficult to put the cover back on.

  5. Steevo — I’ve got no political litmus test for contributors here. If I get a volunteer who can write, who’s got a casual, interesting style, who can post at least one futurismic entry per day, and who happens to be a conservative, I’d be happy to add them to the contributor list.

    In response to the rest of your comments, I’m honestly not sure what you’re saying, but in general I welcome comments that are on point and respectful of others’ opinions. To date the only comments I’ve ever deleted have been spam, if that gives you a hint as to my habits as a moderator.

  6. I agree that politics and technology affect each other, and that is sufficient reason to include both in a site like this–besides the fact that it is *your* blog and you can blog about whatever you like. Understanding that to be your focus, some of your previous (i.e., the more political) posts now make more sense to me.

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