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Actually, that decision was made during Carter's own administration, when he signed Executive Order 12139 on May 23, 1979. It authorized the attorney general “to approve electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information without a court order.” This was after 1978's Foreign Intelligence Service Act set up a special and secret court for the purpose of granting foreign intelligence.

Actually, IBD doesn't quite get it right.

What his EO says is
_________________________________________________________________________
http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/eo12139.htm
  1-101. Pursuant to Section 102(a)(1) of the Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1802(a)), the Attorney General
is authorized to approve electronic surveillance to acquire foreign
intelligence information without a court order, but only if the
Attorney General makes the certifications required by that Section.
________________________________________________________________________

So it seems quite clear to me that even then Carter said we needed to perform within the confines of the law.

Don't you agree?

Jim
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