The NYT weighs in today on the debate we've been having. It seems like a pretty sensible position to me. And one thing worth adding to the conversation:
The Obama administration has sharply expanded the shadow war against terrorists, using both the military and the C.I.A. to track down and kill hundreds of them, in a dozen countries, on and off the battlefield. The drone program has been effective, killing more than 400 Al Qaeda militants this year alone, according to American officials, but fewer than 10 noncombatants.
This is not always without costs. But it tells you something about the failure of this administration to tell a story of its very effective war against al Qaeda that would impress many Americans still being blasted with FNC/RNC propaganda about Obama's alleged weakness. On the other hand, this is a constructive suggestion:
The government could establish a court like the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which authorizes wiretaps on foreign agents inside the United States. Before it adds people to its target list and begins tracking them, the government could take its evidence to this court behind closed doors along with proof of its compliance with international law and get the equivalent of a judicial warrant in a timely and efficient way.