Deconstructing Risen/Required Reading

David Tell, writing for The Weekly Standard, explains what’s wrong with the New York Times in general…

Now, over two years later, the Times has decided to reveal that on the very day its editorial page offered this suggestion [to eavesdrop on terror suspects], just such an NSA domestic surveillance effort was already underway, on orders from the president. And all of a sudden, responsible news organizations everywhere are loudly warning that the End of Democracy is nigh. It is an outrage that George W. Bush did what the New York Times recommended–according, most notably, and weirdly, to the New York Times itself.

…and what’s wrong with national security correspondent James Risen in particular:

James Risen repeatedly calls the program “illegal,” but offers not a single word of serious statutory or constitutional analysis to sustain the conclusion. He complains that, “for the first time since the Watergate-era abuses, the NSA is spying on Americans again, and on a large scale”–a reference, once more, to those 500 al Qaeda email buddies he’s mentioned, who together represent 1.7 ten-thousandths of one percent of the U.S. population. Shifting gears, Risen next raises alarm over the possibility that NSA could begin domestic spying on a large scale if it wanted to; “there seems to be no physical or logistical obstacle” preventing it at present. Neither does there seem to be any physical or logistical obstacle preventing NSA from sneaking into James Risen’s bathroom and stealing his toothbrush, of course. The question remains: Why on earth would they want to?

Read the whole thing – because I purposely left out the juciest bits.

UPDATE: Frank Martin has also read Risen’s State of War, and thinks that

the book makes a surprisingly clear case for the Bush Administration and why they have taken the steps they have in the War against Al-Qaeda. The PR on the book makes it out that this book into a testimonial against the Bush Administration, but the real villain in this book is former CIA director George Tenet, who is savaged in nearly every chapter of the book. President Bush