So the Bush administration got it right and the New York Times got it wrong all along.
The New York Times reports a decision, made in December by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, validates the power of the president and Congress to wiretap international phone calls and order, even when Americans’ private communications may be involved.
According to the Times, the decision marks the first time since the New York times decided to reveal the National Security Agency’s (NSA) Terrorist Surveillance Program three years ago that an appellate court has addressed the constitutionality of the federal government’s wiretapping powers:
In validating the government’s wide authority to collect foreign intelligence, it may offer legal credence to the Bush administration’s repeated assertions that the president has constitutional authority to act without specific court approval in ordering national security eavesdropping.
Still, the new ruling is expected to have broad implications for federal wiretapping law, because it is the first time that any appeals court has ruled on the constitutional question of the president’s wiretapping power.
You may recall that after it revealed the NSA's Terrorist Surveillance Program, the New York Times was accused of doing so in order to sell a book. Even the Washington Post took the Times to task for revealing the classified program.
President-elect Obama, then a United States Senator, was highly critical of the presidential wiretapping power claimed by President Bush, and threatened to filibuster the revisions to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which granted retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies participating in the NSA's terrorist surveillance program. Obama ultimately voted for the revisions, angering many of his left-wing liberal supporters.
The warrantless Terrorist Surveillance Program is only one of the things Obama promised to have his Attorney General investigate. For his part, Attorney General-Designate Holder has already made his mind up, incorrectly, that President Bush was wrong to authorize the NSA's Terrorist Surveillance Program.