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Bush Administration Obtained Bank Data Without Court Subpoenas or Warrants

The New York Times reports on Operation Swift, through which the Bush Administration in the aftermath of 9/11 obtained bank records without court authorization:

Under a secret Bush administration program initiated weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, counterterrorism officials have gained access to financial records from a vast international database and examined banking transactions involving thousands of Americans and others in the United States, according to government and industry officials.

.... Treasury officials did not seek individual court-approved warrants or subpoenas to examine specific transactions, instead relying on broad administrative subpoenas for millions of records from the cooperative, known as Swift. That access to large amounts of sensitive data was highly unusual, several officials said, and stirred concerns inside the administration about legal and privacy issues.

Because the program remains classified, those interviewed requested anonymity.

Nearly 20 current and former government officials and industry executives discussed aspects of the Swift operation with The New York Times on condition of anonymity because the program remains classified. Some of those officials expressed reservations about the program, saying that what they viewed as an urgent, temporary measure had become permanent nearly five years later without specific Congressional approval or formal authorization.

Administration officials asked the Times not to publish the story, but the Times decided not to honor their request. The LA Times has made a similar decision and reports on the program here.

TalkLeft's background on national security letters (administrative subpoenas) is here.

< FBI Busts Suspected Domestic Terrorism Ring | Gonzales Outlines Domestic Terror Busts >
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  • Re: Bush Administration Obtained Bank Data Without (none / 0) (#1)
    by scribe on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 07:57:42 PM EST
    Here's the money quote from the LAT:
    Current and former U.S. officials say the effort has only been marginally successful against al-Qaida, which long ago began transferring money through other means, including the highly informal banking system common in Islamic countries.
    Like so many other efforts, it's pretty much useless against the purported AQ target, but it sure works against regular folks.

    It's only scary if you have something to hide. :-P

    Re: Bush Administration Obtained Bank Data Without (none / 0) (#3)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 08:26:30 PM EST
    Scribe - So what it does is to not make it impossible, but hard. And you have a problem with that? Sad.

    I really believe that it would take nothing less than U.S. soldiers Goose Stepping behind tanks through every major American city for genuine outrage to take hold. Even I, in my eternal pessimism, didn't predict this degree of Fascist behavior in 2001. The apathy of the typical American knows no boundaries.

    Re: Bush Administration Obtained Bank Data Without (none / 0) (#5)
    by squeaky on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 09:22:03 PM EST
    PPJ, As usual, you are single-minded and devoid of imagination, just like your masters.
    I don't know, sky-ho, you are certainly right about ppj, but the evil masters do not appear to be lacking in imagination. That is part of the problem.

    Gawd, I can't take any more bad news today. I will try to read this again when my eyeballs and chin aren't already sagging to my knees.

    deleted. This commenter has proven himself/herself to be a troll who primarily levels insults and repetitive attacks. PB Main is banned, and all of his/her comments are being deleted.

    Re: Bush Administration Obtained Bank Data Without (none / 0) (#8)
    by Che's Lounge on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 12:31:59 AM EST
    Jeralyn, We tried to take the trash out for you. Thanks.

    Re: Bush Administration Obtained Bank Data Without (none / 0) (#9)
    by Richard Aubrey on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 04:48:51 AM EST
    There are other "money" quotes about the program's effectiveness which show it in a better light than the cherry-picked one. Outside of its being a useful tool against terrorists, what's your complaint? "Without a warrant". Hell, I can buy chewing gum without a warrant. Have, on several occasions, too. Point is, for the metaphor-challenged, that "without a warrant" is only meaningful if the law requires a warrant in the first place. And the law requiring the warrant should be specific, not referring vaguely to anything or something or other that might or might not actually fit the situation. Was Congress briefed? Your faux despair and outrage are getting oooolld.

    Re: Bush Administration Obtained Bank Data Without (none / 0) (#10)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 05:51:04 AM EST
    Nothing fake about my outrage...I guess you have to love and believe in freedom to feel it. Our leaders won't understand freedom until it bites them in the arse....lets excercise our choppers.

    Re: Bush Administration Obtained Bank Data Without (none / 0) (#11)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 06:34:43 AM EST
    Sky-Ho - Given your claim that you were in a position to know things I am surprised you weren't aware of it and broke the story rather than the NYT. My comment was really simple. We have removed a method of tracking and attacking the terrorists. By alerting the terrorists they will just move on to other methods. Our task will now be to find and combat those methods. In the meantime those who agree with you have put a road block in a program that has had success such as this.
    Among the successes was the capture of a Qaeda operative, Riduan Isamuddin, better known as Hambali, believed to be the mastermind of the 2002 bombing of a Bali resort, several officials said. The Swift data identified a previously unknown figure in Southeast Asia who had financial dealings with a person suspected of being a member of Al Qaeda; that link helped locate Hambali in Thailand in 2003, they said.
    The real question is, why would you want to make their task harder? Link

    Mr. Aubrey our comments that
    the law requiring the warrant should be specific, not referring vaguely to anything or something or other that might or might not actually fit the situation.
    demonstrates a real lack of knowledge about the law and shows you disagree strongly with the Framers of the U.S. Constitution who provided that the government shall not impinge upon the rights of the people to be secure in their papers and their property. They painted quite a broad brush and put the onus on the government to prove a likelihood that someone is committing a crime and evidence or fruits will be found. You desire that that law be narrow and specific cannot be effectuated under this Constitution. I wish you luck in your travels in finding a government that doesn't respect your privacy

    Great, Atlanta. Show me the law that says these transactions, these transactions, not some that you might think of all by yourself, require a warrant to be accessed. You may dislike the current laws that make this legal, but that's not the same as breaking the law. Show me something more than BDS, willya?

    Re: Bush Administration Obtained Bank Data Without (none / 0) (#14)
    by jimcee on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 06:49:40 AM EST
    If I read the NYT article correctly I believe that this was legal. Am I wrong about that? Please do tell.

    Re: Bush Administration Obtained Bank Data Without (none / 0) (#15)
    by Strick on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 07:14:32 AM EST
    From the article:
    The program is limited, government officials say, to tracing transactions of people suspected of having ties to Al Qaeda by reviewing records from the nerve center of the global banking industry, a Belgian cooperative that routes about $6 trillion daily between banks, brokerages, stock exchanges and other institutions. The records mostly involve wire transfers and other methods of moving money overseas and into and out of the United States. Most routine financial transactions confined to this country are not in the database.
    So these are international transactions? Obtained from a Belgian source? Haven't the courts ruled the President isn't required to obtain a warrant to obtain intelligence information outside this country without recourse to warrants or any other impediments? Something about the inherent right to defend the country against foreign powers or terrorist groups? I wasn't aware that anyone questioned that. Belgium is still another country, right?

    Re: Bush Administration Obtained Bank Data Without (none / 0) (#16)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 07:25:59 AM EST
    instead relying on broad administrative subpoenas for millions of records from the cooperative, known as Swift.
    I assume then there are millions of suspected terrorists among us. Everbody panic and give up your freedom!

    well its legal and not secret any more u idiots why dont u just move to canada

    Re: Bush Administration Obtained Bank Data Without (none / 0) (#18)
    by soccerdad on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 07:33:01 AM EST
    So these are international transactions?
    still may involve US citizens
    Obtained from a Belgian source?
    This is just the priocessing center and where it is located is irrelevant. If you want to "spy" on US citizens get a warrant or supoena. Then knock yourselves out.

    Re: Bush Administration Obtained Bank Data Without (none / 0) (#19)
    by squeaky on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 07:39:53 AM EST
    Not only is this a breach of our constitution it is a breach of contract between the banks and their own customers. If you believe that this is about stanching terrorism, I have a bridge I can sell you real cheap.

    This Administration is great for smokescreen tactics. Perhaps they was looking for us Americans who donated to AlQaeda which is the CIA in drag. Every Hero needs a villan. This is right out of a comic book only the real conspirators The Bush regime killed alot of innocent Americans by crashing their own commercial plane into the trade towers.

    Mr. Aubrey, You again missed the point. I am not going to look up the specific statute that makes it illegal to access your financial records. (Thought, I'm sure if I accessed yours the first thing you would do is call the authorities. Do you really think that isn't illegal? You have bought your pack of gum w/o a warrant, do you purchase other peoples bank records?) The point is that the Constitution paints a broad brush of protection against the government. Whether or not a particular state would have a law against me as a citizen coming in your house without your permission and taking pictures isn't the question. The government is limited by the Constitution from doing so without a warrant, unless there are exigent circumstances. Whether something is criminal if an individual does it, and unconstitutional if the government does it are largely two different issues. The government is not allowed to do everything that isn't criminal, it's limited by the Constitution. These are not radical,"BDS" sentiments but rooted and established in centuries of English common law, the basis for many of the constitutional protections. Read some of Justice Scalia's opinions. Like Crawford vs. Washington.

    One advantage of this story is that I finally found an example in the wild of the argument "Journalists are endangering national security by exposing secrets -- and it's not news because everyone already knew about it."

    Re: Bush Administration Obtained Bank Data Without (none / 0) (#23)
    by scribe on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 08:32:50 AM EST
    Jimcee asks: "this is legal?" The admin says it's legal, but (beyond these being the same folks who say torture and incarceration without trial or end is also legal; they just make it up as they go along) if you read the articles, you'll see that SWIFT didn't think so, and kept balking. It was "only after a full-court-press" (so described in the article) by Greenspan and others at Treasury that SWIFT continued* to go along. The legality has not been tested in court (big surprise - they always seem to find a way to avoid a definitive adjudication; ask Mr. Padilla). And that only addresses US law. It needs be noted that since SWIFT is located in Belgium, the more stringent EU laws on privacy also apply. And, a very respectable lawyerly argument can be made that the privacy laws of whatever country the money was being sent to also apply (and, arguably, also those countries' search and seizure laws). In short, there's a way to come up with an argument on all sorts of sides of the question, and it's doubtful anyone can even comprehend all the sides of the question, let alone the arguments on those sides. I don't think anyone will ever come up with a definitive adjudication of "legal" or "illegal" because this is not susceptible of that. Suffice it to say that, regardless of the legalities of the situation, a lot of people with a lot of money are going to be pi**ed, because now it must be assumed that Sam knows where they get and send their money, and with a little interception of phone calls and emails, what they spend it on or invest it in. W needs to understand that, unlike the little phone and internet users whom he annoyed by intercepting their calls and emails, the people he's chapping this time don't take this kind of monkey business and move on. Especially because he's messing with their money. They act. And, moreover, it needs be noted that one of SWIFT's points upon which it balked was that the program took on a life of its' own, and showed no sign of ever coming to an end. Sound familiar? All this for an ice-cream shop owner in Brooklyn and some guy affiliated two or three degrees away from the Bali bombing guys (and that didn't stop that bombing, either)? Game's not worth the candle.... * And wasn't it just the other day that W said Europeans didn't take 9/11 seriously enough to help out?

    Re: Bush Administration Obtained Bank Data Without (none / 0) (#24)
    by scribe on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 08:40:58 AM EST
    I had just finished my prior comment, when I remembered an old campaign poster I saw while a tourist in Munich many years ago. It caricatured a grossly fat Franz Josef Strauss (a Reagan emulator) with a lot of campaign funds flying around - his party always seemed to have campaign financing scandals brewing. He was snarling:
    "Legal? Illegal? Scheissegal!"
    The first two words translate directly. The third is a slang expression meaning "I don't give a sh*t." Tailor-made for the current admin.

    Re: Bush Administration Obtained Bank Data Without (none / 0) (#25)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 09:48:02 AM EST
    It's about the war on drugs and tax cheats and nosey government sticking their beak where it does not belong.

    I'm laughing at the smart allick "high browed" references to "show me the case law or legislation" that Richard Aubrey is referring to. The law is whatever these ideologues that you support say it is. When it isn't expressly laid out in statute or case law, they simply claim they have the authority and then no consequences follow. Once the media loses interest (assuming they ever had any in the first place), the ideologues you support quiety shuffle the legal authority for the preceeding actions taken After the Fact. Your heroes have no regard for any law that they didn't engineer. Selectively applied farce. So spare me your professional appraisal of the legality of unethical actions.

    PPJ: Some of us would "want to make their tasks harder" because the Constitution says their tasks have to be harder. They need "probable cause", they need warrants. It's not the United States of America if they don't get warrants based on probable cause. Go back to Civics class.

    Re: Bush Administration Obtained Bank Data Without (none / 0) (#28)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 12:07:04 PM EST
    PPJ...As a card player, I'm surprised you'd advocate giving the government carte blanche to our financial records. Unless you wanna get double-raked by the house and the state. IRS agent: "Hmmm...PPJ made a 5k deposit after that trip to Vegas according to my contact at the HSA. Better send an agent over, half that's ours."

    Re: Bush Administration Obtained Bank Data Without (none / 0) (#29)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 01:10:56 PM EST
    Et al - I called up my trusty banker this morning and said, what is the law? She replied: On all transactions of between $5,000 and $10,000 a log must be kept showing who initiated the transaction and who received it. The log is submitted to the Feds on a regular basis. All transactions, or series of transactions, by persons or groups of persons/ companies, charities, corporations (i.e. anything/one) that appear to try and circumvent the law must be reported separately. All transactions of $10,000 or more must be reported at the time of the transaction. I think that would be considered by end of normal business hours. There are also laws on how much money you can take out of the country and how much you can bring in. Now, how that relates to SWIFT, I am unsure. But since the above is legal, I would bet that what we are doing with SWIFT is also legal. And very helpful until the NYT decided they needed their circulation to be increased. kdog - At the Belliago and at the Commerce, all transactions of more than $10,000 in any 24 hour time frame is reported. I assume that is true for other card rooms. All Jackpot and all tournament winnings are reported. Some clubs also withhold, some don't. You'll get a 99 or G for your records. What illegal clubs in NYC do, I do not know.

    Re: Bush Administration Obtained Bank Data Without (none / 0) (#30)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 01:21:17 PM EST
    Agent 99:
    They need "probable cause", they need warrants.
    Undoubtedly your civics class was greatly remiss.
    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.


    Re: Bush Administration Obtained Bank Data Without (none / 0) (#31)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 01:29:48 PM EST
    What illegal clubs in NYC do, I do not know.
    Sure you do Jim...they do nothing. The clubs I go to couldn't care less about my finances, as long as I'm paying time. Must be a nightmare for the casinos to track such transactions (especially if you don't use as a comp card), and easy for anyone with half a brain to get around. Unless they use the eye in the sky to see how many times you hit the cage. In AC they never ask for ID or anything at the cage. A person's finances are their own business. Thanks for the reminder of the legal ways our govt. sticks it's nose where it doesn't belong. Exactly the reason I don't use banks except to exchange my paycheck for cash. Being monitored gives me the creeps.

    Re: Bush Administration Obtained Bank Data Without (none / 0) (#32)
    by jondee on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 01:32:11 PM EST
    Has anyone else here noticed the positively deafening silence from Mr.Pajamas and B.B - as hyper-vigilant and accutely aware of "the threat" as they are - on the subjects of Port Security, securing chemical plants etc? Intelligent proactivity to these guys seems to amount to little more than parroting the press releases of the privatizers and out-sourcers and coming here quivering with excitement about what they heard on Fox last night.

    On the other hand, the Fourth Amendment requires that we be free from 'unreasonable' searches. It goes on to state that no warrants shall issue but upon 'probable cause.' While a warranted search is undoubtedly reasonable, the Supreme Court has somehow managed to conclude that warrantless searches are presumed to be 'unreasonable,' subject to a litany of intricate exceptions that amply demonstrate the absurdity of the general rule. Additionally, law enforcement doesn't need a search warrant to obtain your banking records. A subpoena will do the trick. Although that requires judicial approval, it does not require 'probable cause.' Even so, there are two parties involved in each of these transactions. The customer and the bank. If the bank wants to turn over records of the transactions it has conducted there is nothing in the Constitution that says it should not be able to. Since these transactions are apparently taking place overseas, the banks are not subject to domestic American law prohibiting such disclosure. If the customers have a beef, they should complain to their bank and/or find another one that won't divulge its own records without a court order. *** kdog, "a person's finances are their own interest . . . being monitored gives me the creeps." I take it you support repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment (authorizing our incredibly invasive income tax system).

    PPJ: You sound like El Torturador himself. The POINT of the Constitution is that ANY governmental or law enforcement agency searches and seizures are UNreasonable without having gotten warrants based on probable cause. There is a point beyond which the splitting of hairs to advocate one's position in legal matters becomes too absurd to be stood up next to the founding documents and the laws of the land. Gonzo and others advising this ill-advised administration have gone well beyond that point, and your little stress of "unreasonable", divorced from the context in which it was set from the inception of our nation, is as egregious. We do NOT have to stand for a bunch of dysfunctional egos whose greed for supremacy over their fellow citizens, or commenters, leads them off beyond the point where any lucid discussion can still take place. The * administration has crossed it, and you have crossed it. Maybe a civics class wouldn't do you as much good as a psychiatrist.

    "warranted search is undoubtedly reasonable" Some searches are so intimate that this is probably wrong. For instance, if one wants to search my body, do they just get a search warrant and then I have to undergo surgery etc.? Likewise, would not at least a higher degree of scrutiny than usual be required to search a marital bedroom in various cases, a confessional, and a lawyer's office, etc.? Dare I say a member of congress, lol! "Reasonable" is really a two edged sword. Sometimes, a warrant is not required, such as when they subpoena certain records or search you for weapons at a Terry stop. Sometimes, even a warrant might not make a particularly invasion search/seizure (consider an abortion or forced medical procedure) "reasonable." If Bush & Co. wants some discretion, maybe it can meet privacy concerns and concerns about their unilateral overreaching half way at least. Then, perhaps some degree of trust can be put in them, some benefit of the doubt. Now, none is justified. This might in some cases hurt us, but who really is to blame?

    Re: Bush Administration Obtained Bank Data Without (none / 0) (#36)
    by jimcee on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 05:31:12 PM EST
    Since I posted about this earlier today there has been no one here who has answered my intial question in the most simple of terms: Yes or No. Obviously the answer is Yes because if it wasn't someone would have been able to say so succinctly and not create a dust cloud of verbiage to obscure the fact that this is either legal, or it is undecided law thus being so is legal until a court decides otherwise. If anyone thinks that thier banking records are private are just barking mad. The IRS, Credit Agencies, the screaming used car salesman on local TV, your employer and anyone you share your Social Security number with can find out all of your banking transactions. That the federal gov't is using the same techniques seems a logical extension of that. You want banking privacy, you need to work in a cash or barter world and bury your cash in the backyard. This story is nothing more than dumb-bait for naive political sheep. This story is so ham-handed and so edited for effect as to make it seem as if it were created by the old Politburo.

    "...anyone you share your Social Security number with can find out all of your banking transactions. That the federal gov't is using the same techniques seems a logical extension of that."
    #1 There is a difference between a party obtaining financial records with the permission of the individual in question and a party obtaining the financial records w/o that permission. That's the whole point. #2 There is a difference between (A) acknowledging that the government commits despicable, unethical clandestine acts and (B) being a private citizen and attempting to justify those unethical actions to fellow Americans. That so many are ignorant enough to SUPPORT that kind of behavior says something very disturbing about the ethical norms within our society.

    Not only do we consent to various private companies to access our account, even certain entities of the gov't only can access our info for certain purposes. This is why the IRS cannot be used to target gamblers for simply gambling, since that would be self-incrimination. Finally, the gov't is deemed more dangerous than a private company. This is sort of why constitutional and statutory limits are put on them more than private groups in various instances.

    The article spells out the various statutory protections. I'd add though that the idea that a few positives came from the program is not determinative, is it? Violating the 4A overall might help catch a few more people. Likewise, would getting subpoenas been impossible given the lower standard of proof involved? And, if necessary, maybe more legislation to clarify power people in the Bush Administration were unclear about. There is a Republican Congress etc. But, that would be too hard, huh?

    Re: Bush Administration Obtained Bank Data Without (none / 0) (#40)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 08:50:02 PM EST
    kdog - They don't worry about how much you buy...It's the cash outs that they are interested in. Obviously there are ways to scam the system. But given that unreported income can get you jail time, I think most of your known players report truthfully. BTW - The maximum dollar amount you can take on an airplane is $5000. I can't remember who, but some tournament player was nailed in Detroit in Jan 05 on his way to Tunica f0r a tournament. The easy way around that is to establish accounts in banks where you play and do the wire transfer bit. Perfectly legal ----and reported---- and safe. Bottom line. The pros don't want to scam the system. They are making a nice living just the way it is. et al - What the Feds are looking for is the "charities," etc., that are sending money to the various terrorist groups.

    Thanks Dark Avenger!

    Re: Bush Administration Obtained Bank Data Without (none / 0) (#43)
    by Slado on Sat Jun 24, 2006 at 06:04:46 AM EST
    Pleae refrain from over the top lefty loonacy. This program is not illegal. The international banks were informed of it and gave their permission. That only one congressman had the nerve to say anything shows that there is nothing gonig on other then disrupting the flow of money. Not everything GW and this administration does is bad. The NYT's was repeatedly asked by the administration and congress not to publish this story because the only thing it would do is let the terrorists know exactly how we're disrutpting thier money flow. But because like most hear they have a tendancy to favor the terrorists rights and not our safety they published it anyway. Please site what laws were broken before taking your fake moral high ground. This was disgraceful.

    Re: Bush Administration Obtained Bank Data Without (none / 0) (#44)
    by Slado on Sat Jun 24, 2006 at 06:08:54 AM EST
    The Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Miller in 1976 that no right to privacy attaches to the type of third-party financial-transaction information SWIFT has provided to the Treasury Department More tid bits from the editorial... Wash Times Again. Disgraceful

    Re: Bush Administration Obtained Bank Data Without (none / 0) (#45)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Jun 24, 2006 at 07:27:37 AM EST
    DA - So we shouldn't use it because it is only "marginal?" How do you know it is only "marginal?" And why do you think we shouldn't do all we can to stop the flow of money to the terrorists? et al - You know, you didn't want to invade Iraq because you argued the various law enforcement and intelligence systems could do the job. Now you don't want the intelligence systems to do the job. I guess what you want is to do nothing but complain, and then, when the outcome doesn't suit you, you'll blame someone else and complain some more. Folks, that's juvenile at best.

    Re: Bush Administration Obtained Bank Data Without (none / 0) (#46)
    by Andreas on Sat Jun 24, 2006 at 11:26:04 AM EST
    As with the NSA spying operations, the existence of the SWIFT program has long been known to leading congressional Democrats as well as Republicans. All have colluded to keep the American people in the dark. Treasury Secretary Snow made a point of declaring that both the House and Senate intelligence committees had been fully apprised of the program's existence. The record makes clear the bipartisan support for these police-state operations.
    New exposure of US government spying Bush administration compiling massive database of bank records By Kate Randall, 24 June 2006

    Re: Bush Administration Obtained Bank Data Without (none / 0) (#48)
    by jimcee on Sat Jun 24, 2006 at 05:00:49 PM EST
    So I guess the answer is 'Yes' that this is legal because no one has come up with a reason that it is illegal. So exactly why did the NYTimes run this story and why are certain folks using fantasy faux-constitutional insinuations to complain? Show me case law that proves this is illegal and I'll be offended the Feds are doing this but they are doing the same thing those credit-card companies do when they send me an unsolicited home-equity credit card with a credit limit that is exactly what my home is worth? Gee how'd they do that and is it illegal?

    Re: Bush Administration Obtained Bank Data Without (none / 0) (#49)
    by Andreas on Sat Jun 24, 2006 at 11:53:06 PM EST
    Obviously "jimcee" either does not know the law or (more likely) deliberately ignores it.
    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 to the United States Constitution