The ruling delivered a blow to the Bush administration’s claims that its surveillance program, which Mr. Bush secretly authorized shortly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was lawful. Under the program, the National Security Agency monitored Americans’ international e-mail messages and phone calls without court approval, even though the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, required warrants.
[Plaintiff's attorney] Jon Eisenberg, said Judge Walker’s ruling was an “implicit repudiation of the Bush-Cheney theory of executive power.”
“Judge Walker is saying that FISA and federal statutes like it are not optional,” Mr. Eisenberg said. “The president, just like any other citizen of the United States, is bound by the law. Obeying Congressional legislation shouldn’t be optional with the president of the U.S.”
The ruling is the second time a federal judge has declared the program of wiretapping without warrants to be illegal.
But Judge [Vaughn R.] Walker limited liability in the case to the government as an institution, rejecting the lawsuit’s effort to hold Robert S. Mueller III, the F.B.I. director, personally liable.
So, it was illegal, as long argued. Yet nobody will go to jail for it, naturally, because Presidents, particularly George W. Bush, and their men, though theoretically "bound by the law," as Eisenberg says, are still above the law, apparently.
For you Tea Baggers: The comment section below is open so that you can let us hear your arguments as to why you believe that Barack Obama should be allowed to violate the law and the Constitution in order to read your emails and listen to your phone calls, at any time, and for whatever reason he chooses, without ever receiving court approval, the way you used to argue that Bush was allowed to do.
For you non-Tea Baggers in the reality-based world: We'll note here that the Judge in this case also, thankfully, rejected the DoJ's attempt to invoke the so-called "State Secrets Privilege" as "first asserted by the Bush administration and continued under President Obama."
The SSP is what the Bush Administration had twice used to gag FBI whistelblower Sibel Edmonds for so many years, successfully ensuring that her case would never see the light of day in a court of law, despite her appealing the Administration's use of the draconian and (previously) rarely-invoked "privilege" all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Can we assume then that the "State Secrets" the Bush Administration was hoping to keep from seeing the light of day in the Edmonds case were even more of a national security threat than exposing the fact that the Government was spying, illegally, on anybody in this country that they wanted to?