This seems to be the basic message being projected by the Bush administration regarding the terrorist surveillance. Having listened to about one and half hours of the testimony yesterday, General Estrada (note to self: become Attorney General so that I can be called General) repeatedly asserted that the program was necessary and that it was not illegal in any way while providing no evidence for either assertion. It was as if the sheer knowledge of Estrada’s (and, by extension, Bush’s) wholesome goodness was meant to be sufficient justification for the program.
Imagine for a moment that General Estrada, President Bush, and all of the NSA folk really are white-hatted good-guys of the purest stripe. Doesn’t this set a really bad precedent anyway? What if an ethically compromised, out for himself President makes it to the White House? Couldn’t this be abused in a manner similar to Nixon’s abuse? If there are no improprieties, they ought to disclose more about the program (at least as much as they disclose regarding FISA cases in general). Otherwise, they can’t help but look guilty, especially if their chief defense is, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”