I feel like I should be much more surprised about this article than I was. The fact of the matter is that after the semantic and formalistic arguments that the Bush administration has invoked to continue their "torture" in CIA prisons throughout the world , and their shameless attempts to secure a torture exemption for CIA "interrogators," not to mention their secret laws, I find this article nothing more than the next chapter. Are the American people so conditioned to accept this type of behavior from their government that it has lost its shock value? Moreover, why would the Bush administration stop these activities when there have been no actual repercussions other than hand wringing? Three years left and counting . . .
Another feature of this story, however, I do find shocking: the fact that the NYTimes, at the request of the White House, sat on this story for a year. To be honest, I find that just as disconcerting as the substance within the story itself. Is the same paper that went to the Supreme Court to publish the Pentagon Papers?
What about a disclosure of the program itself could hurt national security, as the White House convinced the NYTimes. Osama Bin Terrorist, before hearing this story, most likely believed that his communications were being monitored anyway. Whether that surveillance is or was done with a showing of probable cause or without is completely immaterial and irrelevant to the day-to-day practices of the terrorist.