The most informed commentary about Bush’s FISA-free wiretapping is going on at DefenseTech.
This gave me an idea:
this call chain [which began with direct al Qaeda connections] could very well have grown out of control, the source admits. Suddenly, people ten and twelve degrees of separation away from Osama may have been targeted.
Maybe it’s now possible to play ‘six degrees of Osama bin Laden?’ How many steps of phone tag away from America’s single greatest enemy is, say, Kevin Bacon? Rudy Giuliani? Grandma? File a FOIA and find out.
Some killjoy NSA veteran had this to say:
“It’s drilled into you from minute one that you should not ever, ever, ever, under any fucking circumstances turn this massive apparatus on an American citizen,” one source says. “You do a lot of weird shit. But at least you don’t fuck with your own people.”
IOW, the people who know what’s going on think that this revelation is unprecedented and overall a very bad thing.
Was Congress briefed? It depends on what your definition of ‘briefed’ is. And your definition of ‘Congress.’ Four or five Senators were given sketchy outlines and forbidden to communicate anything to colleagues, the press or even their staff, and when they expressed concerns they were ignored. See here and here.