A federal appeals court Friday upheld mandatory drug tests for White House workers with access to secret information in a ruling that drew strong dissent from a judge who warned that individual rights had fallen victim to the war on drugs.

In one of the most strongly worded dissents yet in a drug-test case, Judge Harry Edwards said the Fourth Amendment's constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures have been eroded."I have no doubt that our approval of the executive office's urine-testing program will allow the government to claim a symbolic victory in the war on drugs," Edwards said.

"But victory purchased at the expense of individual rights is illusory; in the end we will almost surely regret the price we pay," he said. "There is, and can be, no `drug exception' to the Fourth Amendment."

The appeals court decision overturned a ruling by a federal judge who barred the drug tests.

Over Edwards' dissent, the panel of three judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington upheld the random urinalysis tests required for workers at various White House agencies who hold national security clearances for access to secret information.