The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Appeals released a redacted version of its ruling from August 2008 upholding the constitutionality of a statute authorizing an intelligence program to wiretap international phone calls and intercept e-mail messages without a specific court order.
The court holds that "a foreign intelligence exception to the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement exists when surveillance is conducted to obtain foreign intelligence for national security purposes and is directed against foreign powers or agents of foreign powers reasonably believed to be located outside the United States."
The New York Times, Intelligence Court Rules Wiretapping Power Legal, "The decision marks the first time since the disclosure of the National Security Agency’s warrantless eavesdropping program three years ago that an appellate court has addressed the constitutionality of the federal government’s wiretapping powers. In validating the government’s wide authority to collect foreign intelligence, it may offer legal credence to the Bush administration’s repeated assertions that the president has the power to act without specific court approval in ordering national security eavesdropping that may involve Americans."
Lyle Denniston, SCOTUSblog, Intelligence wiretap power upheld: "In a case that potentially could go to the Supreme Court, a special federal appeals court that operates almost entirely in secret has ruled that Congress did not act unconstitutionally in giving the government power to order telecommunications companies to aid in warrant-less national security wiretapping — eavesdropping mainly aimed overseas, but possibly reaching inside the U.S. and American citizens."
David G. Savage, Los Angeles Times, Court calls warrantless wiretapping legal: "The decision confirms what Bush administration officials and some legal experts have long argued. Although the Constitution protects the privacy rights of Americans against 'unreasonable searches and seizures,' this principle does not bar U.S. spy agencies from conducting surveillance aimed at foreign targets abroad."
The Washington Post, Intelligence Court Releases Ruling in Favor of Warrantless Wiretapping: "The opinion, written by the court's chief judge, Bruce M. Selya, was extraordinary in several respects: It was partly redacted, and it referred to court pleadings that remain sealed. The ruling also hinged partly on a detailed, secret account by the government to the court of its surveillance procedures in 2007."