I just read over at The Carpetbagger Report that newly released documents about Supreme Court nominee Sam Alito reveal that he pretty much supports wanton wiretapping and eavesdropping by the government on U.S. citizens. This oh-so-timely tidbit of information comes from a 1984 memo Alito wrote to the solicitor general at the time.
[Alito] advocated a step by step approach to strengthening the hand of officials in a 1984 memo to the solicitor general. The strategy is similar to the one that Alito espoused for rolling back abortion rights at the margins. […]As I mentioned in my comments to TCR, it will be interesting to see if this hits the fan during Alito's confirmation hearings. Ooh, the suspense!
Despite Alito's warning that the government would lose, the Reagan administration took the fight to the Supreme Court in the case of whether Nixon's attorney general, John Mitchell, could be sued for authorizing a warrantless domestic wiretap to gather information about a suspected terrorist plot. The FBI had received information about a conspiracy to destroy utility tunnels in Washington and kidnap Henry Kissinger, then national security adviser.
That case ultimately led to a 1985 ruling by the Supreme Court that the attorney general and other high level executive officials could be sued for violating people's rights, in the name of national security, with such actions as domestic wiretaps.