Secret from whom?

In 1970, President Nixon secretly ordered the Air Force to bomb North Vietnamese supply lines running through Cambodian territory. When news of the bombing was published in the American press, the Nixon administration accused the press of harming national security by publishing secret information.

But to whom was the bombing a secret? The North Vietnamese knew they were being bombed. The Cambodians knew they were being bombed. The only people in the dark were Americans.

President Bush today harshly criticized the press for revealing that he ordered (and believes he has legally authorized) the National Security Agency to spy on American citizens without judicial warrant. He says that this revelation told terrorists things they hadn’t known.

Is he arguing, then, that terrorists hadn’t known that their telephone conversations might be monitored? Frankly, the United States has little to worry about from terrorists who are that incompetent.

No, the real news is not that terrorists are being monitored. The real news is that the President believes that his “oath to defend the Constitution” allows him to ignore his oath to preserve the Constitution.

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