[W]hy on earth did the Times, apparently at the Bush administration’s request, sit on this story for a full year? The supposed reason for the request is that the revelation would threaten national security by tipping off terrorists. But… about what? About the fact that the government is seeking to wiretap suspected terrorist[s]? To whom does this come as news? We all know law enforcement can get secret wiretap warrants through a FISA court; the only reason to expect terrorists to change their behavior now that they know wiretaps are happening without warrants is if we think they’ve somehow broached the secrecy of the FISA courts. That seems unlikely—at any rate, unlikely to have been known about and still persisted for several years. So what kind of plausible difference to our national security could it make if terror suspects who know they might be targeted for eavesdropping with a warrant learn they might be targeted without one?
Good question. Meanwhile, Jeff Goldstein and James Joyner call for frogmarching of the leak culprits, since just what we need is another fake beltway scandal as the counterpoint to the Plame nonsense.