Alito Memo in '84 Favored Immunity for Top Officials
The memorandum, released yesterday by the National Archives, made recommendations concerning a lawsuit against former Attorney General John N. Mitchell over a wiretap he had authorized without a court's permission in 1970. The government was investigating a plot to destroy underground utility tunnels in Washington and to kidnap Henry A. Kissinger, the national security adviser.
The White House said yesterday that the issues discussed in that memorandum were not the same as those posed by President Bush's orders to the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on international communications without warrants.
"Judge Alito's memo regarding a purely domestic threat is completely different from N.S.A.'s efforts to thwart threats from foreign terrorist organizations," said Steve Schmidt, a White House spokesman.
Judge Alito's relatively positive assessment of the 1978 law [Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act] as useful clarification of the procedures to be followed in the context of national security surveillance, was a faint echo of his earlier strong advocacy, as a student at Princeton in 1972, for the establishment of a court to hear such warrant applications.
Judge Alito wrote on the subject as the chairman of a conference on privacy. The existence of the report he submitted for the conference, which included a discussion of gay rights, was first reported by The Boston Globe two months ago. But the report's extended discussion of wiretapping and other surveillance has not received much attention.
"We are convinced," Judge Alito wrote in 1972,"that in recent years government has often used improper means to gather information about individuals who posed no threat either to their government or their fellow citizens."
The solution, he wrote, was the creation of a"federal court of warrants." Six years later, the 1978 law established the intelligence court.
comments powered by Disqus
- New museum in Poland -- the grandest space created since 1989 -- tells the story of the Jews
- Lewinsky mistreated by authorities in investigation of Clinton, report says
- Scientists Say Proof Of Jack The Ripper's Identity Is Fatally Flawed
- Memorial for black Revolutionary War soldiers finds spot on Mall after 30 years
- Sherlock Holmes star to feature in a new movie about Alan Turning
- How Laurel Thatcher Ulrich caught up with the past
- Postal Workers Take on Harvard President, historian Drew Faust
- Symposium held in honor of John D’Emilio
- Thousands of Historic Archives from British Asylums to Go Online
- American Studies Association boycott of Israel: Conservatives say it’s weakening