Who said this?
The Department of Justice believes, and the case law supports, that the president has inherent authority to conduct warrantless physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes and that the President may, as has been done, delegate this authority to the Attorney General.
It is important to understand, that the rules and methodology for criminal searches are inconsistent with the collection of foreign intelligence and would unduly frustrate the president in carrying out his foreign intelligence responsibilities.
Not Alberto Gonzales, not John Ashcroft, not Pres. Bush, not VP Cheney.
The answer is: JAMIE GORELICK, the Clinton Deputy Attorney General who erected the wall between the FBI and the various intelligence gathering services (NSA, CIA, DIA, etc.) that thwarted US counterterrorism operations and helped prevent learning about the plot that led to the 9-11-01 attacks. Note that she defended warrantless PHYSICAL searches, which are vastly more intrusive than wiretapping or eavesdropping. Moreover, as Byron York shows in the article linked above, the Clinton White House approved physical searches of FOREIGN EMBASSIES; those embassies are, under international agreements, sovereign territory of the nation that has the embassy, not the US.
Gorelick gave that statement in testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee on July 14, 1994.
Don't kid yourself, even you George Will, this type of surveillance on potential foreign espionage agents has been going on for . . . at least 11 years. The Monk finds the whole Big Brother aspect ineffably disconcerting but no American, and no person on US soil, has a right to conspire with a foreign power against the United States. The wonks continually say that we need an MI-5 equivalent in the US, this is as close as we can get.