In the mean time, though, I think I ought to capture a few important links on the NSA story, so that anyone who has been following it here (in the off chance you haven't followed it anywhere else) will have them.
it's also interesting that several of them are places where the author is "playing against type":
- Pejman Yousefzadeh argues against the NSA program. His primary objection seems to be that he doesn't see the necessecity of a program that doesn't include the FISA court orders. I think he's mistaken in this; that will be another topic of my pending post.
- Bruce Fein agrees with Pejman in the Washington Times.
- On the other hand, Professor Cass Sunstein, a noted liberal law professor at Chicago, believes the President's program is at least plausibly legal.
- So does John Schmidt, Associate Attorney General from Clinton's administration.
Playing more to type, John Hinderocker presents his full analysis of the issue. His analysis very closely matches the official Department of Justice position(note PDF file), although Hinderocker objects to the DoJ 's position paper because it depends more on statute and less on the President's inherent Constitutional powers.
My conclusion: I still think the various arguments in favor of the legality of the NSA program are very strong, but there are respectable legal authorities on both said. What's more, the authorities are coming to unexpected conclusions on both sides. More to the point, however, is that when you hear someone say the program was "obviously illegal", or that Bush "knew he was breaking the law", you can be confident that the conclusion is being driven by desire or ideology or simple political experdiency.
Some other comments of potential interest: