As I was driving home from work last night, I caught part of Mary Louise Kelly's piece on "All Things Considered" about Abu Gonzalez's decision to
flip-flop on reconsider the warrantless wiretapping program that has caused so many political headaches for the Shrubbery. Except that wasn't anything like the impression I got from the story itself.
As Kelly told it (or perhaps as I (mis?)heard her tell it; it was the tail end of a long day, and a frustrating commute), it sounded more like one of Bush's patented distraction moves. Gonzalez seemed to be saying that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court had issued a letter or an instruction, which covered the administration's plan to continue warrantless eavesdropping on anybody it considered a terrorist or a potential terrorist. The implication being, of course, that since a court (albeit a secret one that the average citizen stands zero chance of getting within spitting distance of) had "blessed" the program, it was now legitimate and would all y'all terrrist-lovin' lib'ruls and media types please finally shut the hell up about it already?
Consequently, I was a little bemused and befuddled this morning upon reading Dan Eggen's piece in the Washington Post. The lede in Eggen's story states:
The Bush administration said yesterday that it has agreed to disband a controversial warrantless surveillance program run by the National Security Agency, replacing it with a new effort that will be overseen by the secret court that governs clandestine spying in the United States.
I like Eggen's version a lot better. But after six years of living with the Shrubbery, I regret the necessity of observing that Kelly's version sounds far more Bushevikian. Simili modo, even if Eggen's is the correct account, I would absolutely not take any bets on whether or when the Shrubbery will see fit to abrogate its "new" understanding of the FISA provisions, or on the probability that they were now planning to abrogate the whole "unitary executive" thing and return to the kind of constitutional government envisioned by the Framers.