The Bush Administration claims the authority to bypass the FISA court, which was set up for the sole purpose of monitoring secret intelligence use of wiretaps. The claim is that there may be no time to get a warrant before starting a wiretap. Since the FISA law explicitly provides an exception for emergencies, only requiring a court filing within three days, this argument is meaningless.

Dean Johnson, a legal analyst for ABC news, offered the opinion January 6, 2007 that the strongest legal impeachment case against Mr. Bush is with respect to the National Security Agency's wire-taps of millions of American telephone calls without warrants.

"Section 1809 of the FISA Act provides that any public official who engages in a wiretap, without authorization, is guilty of a felony," Mr. Johnson said. "I think it's beyond a reasonable dispute that President Bush violated that statute."

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