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Letter to the Editor: Hub-bub about spying

By BILL REDD
Blanding

Editor,

Those who challenge President Bush for spying on communications between persons in foreign countries and other persons in the United States without a warrant cite the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. This amendment provided that "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmations, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

In 1976, under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, the federal government gave itself the authority to "search without warrant or process any person, place or conveyance according to any federal law or rule of law; and seize without warrant or process any evidentiary item as provided by federal law" on the public lands of Utah which is two-thirds of the state.

Does this statement mean that the public lands of Utah are foreign territory where American citizens are not afforded customary constitutional protections? Probably. Does this mean that a cell phone call made to or from these lands is susceptible to federal "spying" without a warrant? Sounds like it.

No one has complained about this federal power on our public lands. So what is all the hub-bub about now? If unwarranted federal searches and seizures are good enough for Utahns, they ought to be good enough for Al Qaeda.





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