J.D. Tuccille on Warrantless Wiretaps

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Don't worry about the clicking on your phone …

On June 11, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) temporarily blocked the renewal of legislation that allows the U.S. government to listen in, without a warrant, on Americans' conversations, so long as they're chatting with overseas chums who are the official targets of the eavesdropping. In doing so, Wyden not only stood against a bipartisan cabal of snoopy legislative colleagues, but also against the White House, which wants the extension passed and is vigorously battling against constitutional challenges to such electronic eavesdropping. That may come as a bit of a surprise, writes J.D. Tuccille, to anybody who remembers then-presidential-candidate Barack Obama, promising to end the use of warrantless wiretaps.