The real NSA hearings

John’s excellent post below got me thinking about the hearings the Senate plans to hold regarding the NSA intercept program. It is worth considering why no real inquiry regarding the program occurred when the administration first advised congressional leaders about it. The reason, I think, is that few adults in their right mind would want to encumber the government’s right to listen to al Qaeda’s conversations with people in the U.S., and only a politician suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome would want to make the government’s right to do so a political issue.
Why did the landscape change when the New York Times reported the program? Because at that point the matter was out of the hands of politicians who are both “adult” and not politically deranged. The clamor resulting from the combination of MSM denizens and lefty bloggers invoking the specter of King George III, embittered blowhard politicians, and old bull Senators obsessed with their prerogatives meant that hearings would have to occur.
But the hearing that matters is already occuring in the form of presentations like General Hayden’s, Attorney General Gonzalez’s, and President Bush’s. And the public’s take is the same as that of the Democrats whom the administration briefed at the inception of the program — few adults in their right mind would want to encumber the government’s right to listen to al Qaeda’s conversations with people in the U.S.

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