Congress won't get through to the NSA.

Who's winning, who's losing, and why.
Feb. 2 2006 6:30 PM

Tapped Out

Why Congress won't get through to the NSA.

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President Bush has reiterated in recent weeks that he "briefed" Congress about the spy program: In the summer of 2003 Dick Cheney sat down with a small handful of lawmakers, and described the program in broad strokes. Aides were excluded from the meeting and note-taking was not allowed. After attending the session, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W. Va., wrote a letter to Cheney, which he released to the press after the Times broke the wiretapping story in December. "I am neither a technician nor an attorney," Rockefeller wrote. "I feel unable to fully evaluate, much less endorse, these activities." It's a dispiriting letter to read alongside the muckraking tour-de-force of the Church Committee reports. It's also a preview of all we're likely to get out of the hearings next week: I can't quite work out what's going on here. But I think I object.

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