And yet not only would Ashcroft, et al., not budge they were prepared to resign their offices if the President allowed this program of vital importance to go forward in the teeth of their legal objections.Even the Washington Post, not exactly a keen critic of President Bush's executive excesses, has had enough: "The president would like to make this unpleasant controversy disappear behind the national security curtain. That cannot be allowed to happen."
In light of all these considerations, just try to imagine how legally dubious the Yoo justification must have been that John Ashcroft was so profoundly committed to its repudiation. It's staggering, really almost unimaginable that anything such as this could have happened, especially where the stakes were so high.
....Moreover, the "revised" NSA program that OLC and DOJ approved some weeks after the March incident...still allowed electronic surveillance of communications as long as the NSA had a "reasonable basis to conclude that one party to the communication is a member of al Qaeda, affiliated with al Qaeda, or a member of an organization affiliated with al Qaeda, or working in support of al Qaeda." Presumably this extremely generous guideline was required by the need to bring the program under the aegis of the AUMF....If that's the narrow version of the NSA program, just how broad and indiscriminate was the surveillance under the program that Ashcroft, et al. would not approve?
That's a start. A little late, but a start.