Today's IHT had this interesting piece.
It really all boils down to the following:
Most intelligence officials interviewed “had difficulty citing specific instances” when the National Security Agency’s wiretapping program contributed to successes against terrorists, the report said.
So the Bush Administration's "absolutely vital" program could not be readily credited with any specific results!
A later article said that the scope of the Bush programs was far more extensive than just the wiretapping, and was subject to little or no oversight. In fact, many parts of the whole program were so secret that many FBI and CIA personnel were never privy to the information gathered. So who was using this information to protect us?
Well, it seems that David Addington "could personally decide who in the administration was ''read into'' -- allowed access to -- the classified program", so we can be certain that it was routed to the people most likely to protect us from whatever it was that we were being protected from. Of course, still no real specifics as to what we were being protected from and how the programs protected us from the unspecified things it was protecting us from.
Isn't hard to imagine why the intelligence officials interviewed couldn't offer up a laundry list of national security accomplishments resulting from all this surveillance.
If I recall my adolescence correctly, we kids did a better job of "Cops and Robbers" than all those high paid Bushies!
One wonders if the eight years of Bush were scripted by Monty Python.