In the New York Times yesterday, the second paragraph of James Risen’s story, “Bush Signs Law to Widen Reach for Wiretapping,” reads:
Congressional aides and others familiar with the details of the law said that its impact went far beyond the small fixes that administration officials had said were needed to gather information about foreign terrorists. They said seemingly subtle changes in legislative language would sharply alter the legal limits on the government’s ability to monitor millions of phone calls and e-mail messages going in and out of the United States.
Hold on. He feels the need to quote people “familiar with the details of the law” — a huge expansion of police power — implying either that he didn’t read it or that he didn’t have a clue what it meant.
Several questions come quickly to mind.
First, why didn’t the Times journalists either read or understand the law (which runs about 12 double-spaced pages)? These are, after all, among the elite of the craft.
Second, why didn’t they tell us about this before the law was passed?
Must be too much to ask.