According to Dictionary.com, the definition of slander is “. . . communication of false statements injurious to a person’s reputation.” It seems obvious I think, to everyone that the second half of this definition is true of Jack’s latest article referring to the president. I want to focus on the first part of the definition; false statements. Jack says to the effect that the president ordering the NSA to wiretap international calls and emails is something the Constitution expressly forbids. If this were a normal circumstance, I would have to agree with Jack. However, this is not a normal circumstance.

As far as constitutionality in this case, the courts have expressly ruled to the contrary of Mr. Ingram’s ideas of what is or isn’t legal, although his law degree, though making his opinion highly worthy, does not constitute fact. I am no lawyer, but I do know how to do research, and find cases about this issue. According to a 1980 Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decision, “the president did have inherent authority to conduct warrant less searches to obtain foreign intelligence information. … We take for granted that the president does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA could not encroach on the president’s constitutional power.” In 2002, the FISA review court upheld this decision.

Additionally, according to Bryan Cunningham, former National Security Council legal adviser “The Foreign Intelligence Court of Review, which is the highest court that’s looked at these questions, has said that the president has the inherent constitutional authority to use electronic surveillance to collect foreign intelligence and Congress cannot take away that constitutional authority. That’s a pretty good argument.”

Now while I personally feel it is an absolute necessity to do everything possible to stop the spread of terrorism, that topic is a debate for another time. The important thing here is to keep our facts straight, and to stop misleading the public with articles like this.

Slander? Let’s see Jack has indeed communicated false statements, and I dare say it is injurious to the president’s reputation, given Democrats in Congress such as our own Sen. Barbara Boxer who is calling for impeachment in this case. Maybe she needs to look at some research before she “continues to widen the partisan schism in Washington.”

I think Jack may need to rethink the name of his column, I can think of quite a few good names with “slander” in them.

Michael Minasian

Electrical engineering freshman

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