Glenn Greenwald of Salon has an analysis of yesterday’s NSA ruling that is as usual perceptive and important.
After affirming the reason for the ruling (that the parties were not harmed, the same reason the MAPPS lawsuit was dismissed) Greenwald zeroes in on the most important aspect:
The most important point here is, as usual, the one most overlooked by journalists and Bush followers alike. From the beginning of the NSA scandal, Bush followers have proudly boasted about how confident they were that their warrantless eavesdropping behavior was legal. And yet, the only thing they have done is desperately block one attempt after the next to obtain a legal ruling on whether they broke the law.
Already this aspect is being misinterpreted to say that the governmen’s arguments were not addressed, but in fact the government deliberately presented no such arguments:
Indeed, as Judge Gilman noted — and as so-called “legal experts” commenting on this case have completely failed to understand — the Bush administration in this case refused to defend its conduct on the merits. The only argument they made before Judge Taylor was that she had no right to rule on these matters, and they therefore, in effect, conceded the substantive claims that they broke the law.
The bottom line therefore is that the posturing by the Bush administration is all to do with standing (an important principle) but nothing to do with the rightness or wrongness or legality of the warrantless NSA wiretaps taking place in America today.