"Let me be as clear as I can: President Bush believes if al-Qaida is calling somebody in America, it is in our national security interest to know who they're calling and why,"
Of course it is. No-one---from the ACLU to the John Birch society---disagrees with this. We simply thing that Bush should be forced to prove to a FISA court that such a link exists and get a warrant. We don't even require that it be done ahead of time--the law just requires an after-the-fact warrant if there's a pressing need for speed.
It's our refusal to trade our liberty for security that makes us Americans. We don't let the police kick down any door they might want to, unless they can present a reason to a judge, because Americans are secure in our homes. We don't let the government spy on our telephone conversations without due cause, because we are entitled to our privacy unless the government has cause to suspect us of a crime. What's key here? The government needs to put a case before our independent judicial branch before it gets to breach our privacy, even in pursuit of the worst of criminals.
If the administration thinks the current restrictions are too harsh, it should ask Congress that they be changed. If it thinks that any restrictions are too harsh and should be ignored for the good of all Americans, it should find some other country to run. We're not such cowards as that.