Facing stepped-up opposition from a Democratic Congress to its Nixonian position that "if the president does it, that means it's not illegal," the Bush administration now says it will deign to follow the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, at least insofar as the law requires permission from the special FISA court for monitoring communications involving people on U.S. soil. Recall that until this very moment the president and his men insisted this approach was simply unworkable, so cumbersome that it posed an intolerable threat to national security. Now? Not so much. White House spokesman Tony Snow says the FISA court has satisfied "administration concerns about speed and agility when it comes to responding to bits of intelligence where we may be able to save American lives."
Evidently the administration chose to operate outside the law for years when all that was necessary was a few tweaks in FISA procedure, so minor they do not even require congressional action. The president's contempt for the rule of law has never been more apparent.