In every Terrorism awareness training session in the 1980's was a block of instruction called "Legal Aspects of Terrorism," taught by a qualified lawyer in the field and often complemented by an FBI Counterintelligence specialist.
The FBI presence was essential since their counterintelligence function was connected to the criminal nature of Terrorism. The FBI was a law enforcement agency that also used intelligence to counter the threat, but the intel function served to bring criminal activity to court for a judicial determination before a jury.
This function of law enforcement (LE) is the basis of our judicial system. Warrants are issued to LE under probable cause, in accord with the 4th Amendment. The Constitution does not provide for the issuance of warrants to anyone but LE for anything except the investigation of reasonable allegations of a crime. Again, the warrant is issued in order to collect evidence to present to a courtroom to determine the guilt or innocence of the accused (and or course, innocence is presumed.)
So how does an intelligence analyst operating outside of the LE community usurp the right to request warrants and collect evidence that does not support LE? Why are we ignoring this important fact in the current National Security Administration (NSA) discussions?
Neither the NSA nor the Central Intelligence Agency are anything but intel functionaries separate from LE. The NSA and CIA are intel, classified, closed, interbred and are trained to manipulate and cherry pick data for support of policy. How have intel analysts acquired the right to request warrants separate from LE purposes? Further, since they are contravening the legal procedures accorded the Constitutionally authorized agencies, how will the data they collect be used?
Terrorism is a crime and the collection of evidence to prove such should follow established legal procedure. Analysts are not police and do not serve police functions UNLESS they are working in a LE organization. While all LE agencies utilize intel analysts, those analysts operate under the LE aegis in order for their data collection to support an arrest capacity.
Do NSA analysts need search warrants? Why issue a warrant if the information gathered will never reach a courtroom? Why has the U.S. created a Terrorism response that is not 100% tied to our legal system? The data gathered by these non-LE agencies may result in actionable evidence, but not prosecutable, so why the legal aura granted by issuance of a non-necessary warrant?
As RangerAgainstWar has written before, all Terror events like those of 9-11-01 give off indicators of the activity, and shotgun policies are not the best way to counter the threat. The disconnect is the interface between LE -- whose data need not be classified -- and intelligence agencies. The two organizations operate in separate, non-mutually supportive, spheres. To date, there has not been a court case adjudicated on NSA-gathered evidence.
There are things worse than Terror incidents, and one of these is the disconnection of the citizen from the information he needs in order to be an informed member of his nation who can vote responsibly. If our votes do not direct policy then the concept of voting is meaningless.
Think: Has there ever been a U.S. national leader who was elected on the platform of promising to make our government "more secretive"? If we do not buy into secrecy before the election, why do we accept it afterwards?
If our government prioritizes secrecy over transparency, we have moved from a democracy into the realm of autocracy.