Jonathan Landay writes:
By having the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court conduct the review instead of a regular federal court, the Bush administration would ensure the secrecy of details of the highly classified program. The administration has argued that making details of the program public would compromise national security. However, such details could include politically explosive disclosures that the government has kept tabs on people it shouldn’t have been monitoring.
Josh Marshall was alerted to this passage by a TPM reader and notes:
It sounds like Landay’s pointing to the possibility that the White House has been using the program to monitor political opponents. (I’m not sure how else to interpret that line.) And you get the sense he’s doing more than speculating.
I’m guilty of the same speculation but why would the White House be so afraid of a FISA Court review? Of course, some rightwingers would view spying on Democrats as being equivalent to spying on terrorists.